As readers may know, last Friday we released an ebook based on our investigative series based on testimony from whistleblowers at Bank of America and PNC on the whitewash more formally known as the Independent Foreclosure Reviews. The response from readers was very positive, but some were disappointed that the side-by-side format we chose, which looks good on a Mac, renders badly on PC. Plus this being NC, we had a proofreading lapse (as in a several of us involved in putting the final version together assumed someone else had proofread one section, which meant not one had proofread it. Aieee!)
One of the problems of being in blogger low-overhead mode is that you wind up learning by doing, rather than in big corporate mode of being able to do a lot of pre-launch testing and double-checking. So we apologize for any frustration we may have caused to interested readers.
But Lambert has reformatted the book in a way that seems to work better on PCs, should be straightforward to print, and as a bonus is readable on Androids too.
As we pointed out, Elizabeth Warren and Elijah Cummings will be meeting with the OCC and the Fed on Tuesday April 9 to grill them on their sorry performance in the IFR. On Thursday the 11th, Sherrod Brown will be holding hearings in the financial institutions and consumer protection subcommittee. Maxine Waters has also said she will be introducing legislation next week to curb regulators’ use of third party consultants.
I hope readers will campaign to have hearings on the House. Maxine Waters, who is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, has asked for them, and public pressure would overcome Republican inertia. The most important targets are Jeb Hensarling, Scott Garrett (Capital Markets/GSEs Subcommittee Chair) and Randy Neugebauer (Housing Subcommittee Chair).
In additional to calling or e-mailing these key players, call your Congressmen. Ask to speak to the staffer who handles housing and foreclosures. When you get them, ask if they have heard about the Independent Foreclosure Reviews and the settlement. I guarantee a surprising number won’t know the difference between it and the National Mortgage Settlement (the big Federal/state attorney general settlement of early 2012). Then tell them about our whistleblower accounts, and that they need at least to read Chapters 1 and 2. Tell us how it went in the comments section.
Finally, since the GAO report is just out, it would also be productive to call your local media outlets. Congressmembers watch local news coverage closely. There’s no question that people in their viewing area were shortchanged by the IFR and they could use our ebook to get up to speed on the underlying issues.
Please share it with friends, particularly anyone you know who sent in an IFR letter. Please also sent it to your Congressmen and relevant state representatives and agency heads. The IFR was an ineptly executed sop to the banks. It’s important to let people in a position of authority know that the public understands what happened and is not happy about it. The more citizens express their outrage and send in supporting evidence like our ebook, the more they recognize that siding with banks isn’t necessarily a winning proposition.
We also hope you’ll continue to support us in producing hard-hitting, substantive original research that exposes bank misdeeds and educates legislators and the public about how systematic their bad conduct is. It takes time and effort to make inroads against the well-oiled bank PR machine that shifts blame whenever possible onto hapless consumers and goes into lame “mistakes were made” mode when they are caught out. Financiers run amok isn’t bad only for ordinary citizens; it’s also bad for Main Street businesses. So the more we can do to educate the media and the public about the broader ramifications of rule by financial oligarchs, the closer we are to curbing bank power. And as much as that is an uphill task, remember that the railroad interests had even more control over government in the 1800s than banks do now, and they were eventually brought to heel.
But getting the truth isn’t free. Doing the original series was daunting (yes, Virginia, original reporting is hard!) and turning that work into an ebook took meaningful time and effort of several people. We hope you’ll contribute to our site (the PayPal and WePay buttons are in the right column) so that we can continue to do hard-hitting investigations and analysis that brings the bank to account. Cash is always welcom, but we can use some types of in-kind support, for those of you for whom that might be easier, like sound editing (yes, if we ever get our decks cleared, we will be doing podcasts), WordPress assistance and if by happenstance, any of you have inside connections at Quantrix, we would LOVE a copy for financial modeling.
Finally, some of you thought you had to register with ScribD to download the ebook. Rest assured you don’t. DO NOT click on the link above the embed of the book; that takes you to the ScribD site. DO click on the “download” link on the bottom left of the embed.
Please download, read, and share!