We commented earlier this week on bank defenses of their foreclosure practices:
I’ll spare you several paragraphs of the “but they were deadbeats and no one was hurt by robo-signing and all our foreclosures were warranted.” Well, if you normally operate as judge, jury, and executioner, and it’s too costly for borrowers to counteract predatory servicing, in your little self-referencing world, everything will look hunky-dory and challenges to your authority will be deemed to be improper and unwarranted.
As we have indicated repeatedly. lawyers fighting foreclosure estimate that 50% to 70% of the cases they represent are ones where the borrower is in foreclosure as a result of bank fee pyramiding and other improper fees (note there is sample bias here; contrary to bank spin, most borrower attorneys fight foreclosures when they think the case has merit). But they just about never argue in court on those grounds; the cost of hiring an expert witness and doing the forensics on full details of the banks’ overcharges is too costly.
But of course, the Fed is throwing its authority behind the banking industry spin that all foreclosures are warranted. From Shahien Nasirpour of the Huffington Post:
A months-long investigation into abusive mortgage practices by the Federal Reserve found no wrongful foreclosures, members of the Fed’s Consumer Advisory Council said Thursday.
During a public meeting attended by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and other regulators, consumer advocates on the panel criticized federal bank regulators for narrowly defining what constitutes a “wrongful foreclosure.” At least one member of the panel voiced concerns that the public would not take the Fed’s findings of improper practices seriously, since the wide-ranging review did not find a single homeowner who was wrongfully foreclosed upon….
Kirsten Keefe, a member of the Fed consumer panel and an attorney at the Empire Justice Center in Albany, New York, said the Fed’s report defined “wrongful foreclosures” as repossessions of borrowers’ homes who were not significantly behind on their payments….
But Keefe, who represents troubled borrowers, argued that the definition should be expanded to include foreclosures in which the wrong party brought the foreclosure action or cases that involve significant errors in foreclosure documents, like an inflated past-due amount, for example. Other consumer advocates at Thursday’s public meeting appeared to agree.
FYI, the Fed apparently has not released the actual document, no doubt to save itself well warranted ridicule.
The more this sort of whitewashing of abuses goes on, the closer the US gets to its Egypt moment.