What I’ve been recommending lately on the larger foreclosure crisis:
– Alex Ulam wrote The Bank of America Mortgage Settlement Fiasco in The Nation, which is a must-read piece about how what should have been a slam dunk ended up doing little. This is what I fear coming from the current crisis; homeowners are tough to organize across states and it will largely fall to the Attorney General in a variety of states to force settlements – here’s hoping they learn from past mistakes.
– Fred Schulte and Ben Protess and Huffington Post Investigative Fund write The New Tax Man: Big Banks And Hedge Funds, about the newest growth industry for hedge funds: buying up the rights to debt collection. “Some states allow the investors to tack on as much as 18 percent interest and a passel of legal fees and other charges. When property owners fail to make full payment, the investors can sue to foreclose – in some states within as little as six months.” Hey! Aren’t all these banks currently displaying the lack of ability to manage the collection of debt at the national level? Aren’t many accused of committing fraud in the transaction of collecting and managing this debt? Good to hear they’ll take state-level laws to their most ruthless edge.
– David Dayen is killing it following the current foreclosure crisis. I’d recommend just following him, but make sure to catch MERS-y, Mercy Me: The Sewer Drain at the Bottom of the Housing Market (catching you up on the MERS issue, another ‘for dummies’ issue that I should have included) and Donovan’s Folly (about the HUD Secretary’s take on the foreclosure crisis). Four members of Treasury argued a defense of the HAMP program, poor guys. Dayen torn it apart.
– Ezra Klein wrote Column: Four ways the foreclosure mess could be used to help homeowners which updates the policy responses on the table. The biggest worry from my point of view is that we don’t have any mechanism to determine whether or not foreclosures are going correctly once the banks declare themselves cleared.
– Moving from homeowners to investors, Felix Salmon has The mortgage bond scandal FAQ, a great resource for catching up on one of several things that could go wrong here. Also watch for a Blogging Media Arms Race, as Felix has a video of him explaining the mortgage mess, and I feel now I have to get a camera and special effects to outpace him.
– As always, Naked Capitalism is the clearinghouse of information here. Are the foreclosure moratoriums more PR than real?
– In non-foreclosure fraud news, Kay Steiger has ‘Mad Men’ Finale Blogging, with a list of links and her own opinions.