Like you were going to get any work done today.
Chris Hayes has really been on the foreclosure crisis over at MSNBC. Here he is, substituting for Lawrence O’Donnell, interviews noted foreclosure defense attorney Bubba Grimsley about servicer abuse. I can’t embed the video, but the link is here (also here). Here he is on Rachel Maddow also interviewing Matt Taibbi on the recent foreclosure fraud from the Florida “Rocket Docket.”
LPS is being sued by stockholders, and David Dayen has the goods. This is a lawsuit I’ve been waiting to see, as Lender Processing Services are the people long considered to be the go-to people for getting fraudulent documents for servicers. Can’t wait to see the depositions on that one!
Yves Smith has a reaction to the current response from the regulators that things are moving in the right direction. I’ll have more on this, but to the first approximation I hope the regulators (a) have people qualified to do what needs to be done (Andy Kroll, Mother Jones: “An OTS spokesman could name only one formal action the agency has taken against a servicer—Ocwen, in 2004. An OCC spokesman said his agency has never taken action against servicers.” These are the people doing the checking now!) and that the selection of records they are examining are random enough to hit best practices. I hate to see the regulators get played.
We recently ran a New Deal 2.0 series on the foreclosure fraud crisis, Foreclosure 411. All the pieces are great, but I want to draw your attention to two in particular. The first is from Tom Cox, who deposed the robosigner that kicked off this coverage, writing a piece about someone foreclosed on during these holidays, Two Cords of Wood. It helps show the insanity and human costs of this crisis.
The second is from ace blogger Matt Stoller, A Debtcropper Society. The piece gets at the heart of the political problem we face after a credit bubble:
A lot of people forget that having debt you can’t pay back really sucks. Debt is not just a credit instrument, it is an instrument of political and economic control.
It’s actually baked into our culture. The phrase ‘the man’, as in ‘fight the man’, referred originally to creditors. ‘The man’ in the 19th century stood for ‘furnishing man’, the merchant that sold 19th century sharecroppers and Southern farmers their supplies for the year, usually on credit…
Today, the debts do not involve liens against crops. People in modern America carry student loans, credit card debt, and mortgages. All of these are hard to pay back, often bringing with them impenetrable contracts and illegal fees…
Unclogging our constipated economy is not a complex problem — we must simply wipe out the bad debt that cannot be paid back. The complexity of the problem lies in the politics. Debtcroppers have no power, except to stop paying their debts. The constituents I worked with on a fraudulent foreclosure eventually did just that. She and her husband, unshackled by panic, began rebuilding their lives, throwing away their indentured servitude to the bank that abused them. They found their dignity, and used the court system to claim their rights as citizens. They fought the man, successfully, and wiped out their debt. And that is a very scary threat to the creditor class, perhaps the only thing they are really scared of.
Great stuff. I recommend you read it all while you look to kill time on this day before a holiday break.