1. Dylan Ratigan and Huffington Post are running a week of content called No Way to Live, and it is all about the current foreclosure crisis. Discussions about servicer fraud, HAMP, unnecessary foreclosures; interviews with people ranging from Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), to those who have been abused by the system, some of the Huffington Post writers, and many others. There’s also a lot of new reporting specifically about the crisis. I recommend checking it out.
2. February 8th, Huffington Post is organizing a mortgage meetup across the country. Talking to people going through foreclosure or servicer problems and seeing both the shame as well as the lack of knowledge (and thus power) they have, it’s obvious that they would benefit greatly from talking with others in the same boat. I usually tell people to talk to their churches – so many debt help groups are funded and run by credit card companies, churches are usually the only place you can trust. This is another space for people to be able to gather and talk about what they are going through. The exhaustion, isolation and powerlessness is part of their strategy – spread the word to those in need.
3. Shahien Narisipour and Arthur Delaney, write about a couple losing their home as part of the Administration’s HAMP program. Some readers may be skeptical that servicer screw-ups can have a widespread impact, so let’s look at the Michigan couple highlighted in Huffington Post as a case study. Yves Smith walks through the numbers. The issue of servicer driving a homeowner into foreclosure by aggressively driving up frees and misappropriating payments to juke ratios is a far more serious problem than the country currently discuss. Smith: “Nevertheless, Diane Thompson, Counsel for the National Consumer Law Center said in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee last November that in 50% of the cases she handled, the foreclosure was the result of a servicer driven default. I’ve had attorneys who’ve handled hundreds of cases put the percentage even higher.” A sample case is given at the link.
4. National People’s Action, PICO National Network and many others are organizing a petition drive and a Call Your Attorney’s General day today, February 3rd, through this Crime Shouldn’t Pay webpage. I’m still amazed at how there’s been no subpoenas, no criminal charges, no Enron-styled investigations. If you are amazed too, you should call your AG.