Tim Fernholz is hosting an event about the current foreclosure fraud crisis at the New America Foundation next Tuesday. You can attend in person in Washington DC (though RSVP) or watch online. These events usually draw an engaged audience and have a fantastic discussion – people are very energized, knowing something is wrong but are uncertain where to go. I’m going to be tentatively be talking about options that the State Attorneys General can pursue to get at the bottom of this, something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
I’m looking forward to this, and hope you get a chance to check it out!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 – 12:15pm – 1:45pm
New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Landmark depositions earlier this year revealed that banks had foreclosed on thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of homeowners without clear legal standing to do so. Investigations by the federal government, all fifty state Attorneys General and the private sector are revealing widespread problems with the way mortgage loans were bought, sold and combined into complex financial instruments during the housing bubble’s expansion.
Today, these problems are giving consumers leverage to fight foreclosure, but also slowing new home sales and sending chaos throughout the housing markets. The issues could contribute to financial fraud investigations and give the owners of mortgage investments the opportunity to force banks to buy them back, bringing new losses on to their balance-sheets and potentially creating a systemic threat to the financial system. In a worst case scenario, reports the Congressional Oversight Panel, “banks may be unable to prove that they own the mortgage loans they claim to own.”
The New America Foundation has gathered a number of experts to identify the challenges posed by these issues and discuss potential policy solutions, including judicial and voluntary loan modification, automatic mediation, regulatory reforms, and community-based neighborhood stabilization efforts.
Author, Foreclosure Mediation Series
Center for American Progress
Senior Policy Counsel
Center for Responsible Lending
Member, Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP
Director of Policy and Special Counsel, AFL-CIO
Research Fellow, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation
Staff Writer, The American Prospect