Rep. Elijah Cummings discusses the insulting foreclosure fraud settlement on Morning Joe

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Rep. Elijah Cummings discusses the insulting foreclosure fraud settlement on Morning Joe

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Rep. Elijah Cummings discusses the insulting foreclosure fraud settlement on Morning Joe

>>> welcome back to ” morning joe.” 23 past the hour. more homeowners caught in the foreclosure crisis were promised relief from a massive mortgage abuse settlement with big banks. for families who endured years of anguish or lost their homes, critics say these payments are cold comfort. the banks don’t have to admit wrongdoing and even if there’s evidence of illegal conduct, the government so far isn’t providing that information to homeowners. nbc’s senior investigative correspondent lisa myers has the details.

>> reporter:  karen was fighting to save her home from foreclosure for three years and recently received her compensation payment from the settlement. $300.

>> it was more than pathetic. it was insulting.

>> reporter:  timothy, a trucker, says he’s been fighting to save his home since his servicer made a mistake declaring his family behind on the mortgage when they were not. he received a postcard saying he’ll get a check. he too expects $300.

>> it’s kind of like a slap in the face. we have been trying to work through this for three years now and we have lost lots.

>> reporter:  in all, 13 banks will pay $3.6 billion to homeowners under the settlement. the five biggest banks alone earn more than $60 billion last year. the largest payouts, $125,000, go to more than 1,000 members of the military wrongly foreclosed on and to 53 homeowners foreclosed on even though they never missed a mortgage payment. most, almost 2 million homeowners, get checks of $300 to $600.

>> families get pennies on the dollar in this settlement for having been the victims of illegal activities or mistakes in the banks’ activities.

>> the banks have misrepresented the facts.

>> reporter:  in the settlement, the banks promise to end abuses but he says his bank has not changed.

>> there’s been no improvement whatsoever. you can’t even talk to them.

>> that was nbc’s lisa myers. joining us now is congressman elijah cummings with good news as well. let’s first talk about this. also with us the editor of national memo.com. can you imagine getting a check for 300 bucks after going through all that. you wonder why there’s resentment on so many levels.

>> banks got away with murder literally. crimes that were unimaginable. no one has been prosecuted. they took a lot of money. now this is the answer.

>> i don’t really understand what’s been fixed.

>> nothing has been fixed. that’s the problem. the regulators in this case spent so much time trying to look out for the banks they forgot the constituents, my constituents, and people who are struggling. and when i watched that, i got to tell you, it makes me feel very emotional because i run into moment lipeople like that every day where they are getting a $300 check and losses amount to $250,000. the banks are in control of this process. elizabeth warren and i have been looking into this for a while. we cannot get any kind of information, decent information, as to what went into this settlement. there was no random sample. basically what happened was the bank said this is what we’re going to pay and you make it work and then they set up these categories. if you got modification and if you had been foreclosed upon and you got anywhere from $300 to $125,000 which were military folks, then the banks decided who fit into each category. the banks made that decision. and so the fed and the occ, i am very upset with them. elizabeth warren and i sat down with them iowa and said can you tell us how many people were affected? how the decisions were made? the banks already admitted to wrongdoing and illegal activity. can you tell us exactly which bank did what and how it was done? they said no. because these are trade secrets. what they are saying is that criminal activity, illegal activity, that’s already been admitted to by the banks. we cannot even get that information. so when the gentleman said the banks are doing the same things, i believe them. first of all, we’re not getting enough information to even correct it.

>> you have no way of knowing otherwise.

>> by the way, that gentleman you just saw, he can’t even appeal that decision. he can’t appeal it. he may look at these categories and say i don’t deserve a $300 check. i deserve a $100,000 check. there’s no appeal.

>> what is the solution, congressman? let’s say we could get whatever we needed to get out of congress and the administration. what would help homeowners?

>> on this point here, we’ve got a monitoring bill where we go back and we’ll look at this settlement and actually bring some transparency to figure out exactly what went wrong and try to hopefully bring some correction to that. these people have been damaged and so that’s important. the other thing that leads to my next thing is we need to in fanny and freddy, we need principle reduction. a report just came out yesterday, it was my report, i asked the cbo, independent agency, to tell us exactly what effects principle reduction would have and they came back with a win, win, win. taxpayers would be better off. they said that the economy would be better off and homeowners would be better off. and that it would reduce the deficit. dimarco who we talked about a few minutes ago said over and over again he refused to have principle reduction but based on the information that he has presented us, that is to the congress, his own research says there should be principle reduction.

>> that’s my question to you. we were talking off the air. the congressman has been nominated to succeed dimarco who has been in position presiding over fanny and freddy for several years. three or four years. it seems that both sides, both the financial institutions as well as the consumers when it comes to principle reduction, that seems to be one area they can agree on except this man ed dimarco refused to go along here. what’s the possibility for breaking through the logjam here?

>> i think it’s going to be difficult. i think that by having him appointed and letting him take an objective look at principle reduction, i think that breaks the logjam. i read senator corker’s response. i say hold on. this man is a distinguished law school graduate. small businessman. financial services committee member and one of the most respected members of the congress. i’m hopeful this appointment will make a difference.

>> don’t you think that what’s really happening in the senate is senators think their view of the crisis ought to be what prevails even with the president’s own appointees.

>> the congress has got to wake up and start helping our constituents. that’s what people are concerned about. the very thing you talked about. guns. same thing. people say wait a minute. what about us? what about the constituents? i think this is a perfect example. hopefully people will say he’s a practical fellow who is brilliant and has a history of reaching across the aisle. not a bomb thrower and a man that comes up with practical solutions.

>> i know you have known joe for a long time. i’ve known you for six years. your demeanor seems — are you discouraged?

>> i’m never discouraged. as long as there is breath in my body, i’m never discouraged. there has to be people like me and others and many democrats and others who come out and we have to pushback on some of this stuff. other than that, you get rolled over. period. as a society. somebody has to say this is wrong. somebody has to speak for the people that i see in my neighborhood. i live in inner city of baltimore. i see the people that don’t have jobs. i see the people losing their homes every day. someone has to speak for them. here i am. i volunteer.

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3 Responses to “Rep. Elijah Cummings discusses the insulting foreclosure fraud settlement on Morning Joe”

  1. papergate says:

    Love this man!! Hope he and Warren kick some serious buttz…!

  2. Janet Kraft says:

    Why didn’t they at least have to remove it from our credit report? We are still forced to pay extra high rent prices and are not allowed to buy another home!

  3. Richard Davet says:

    Perhaps Rep Cummings could get the banks to force Mr. Demarco or Rep Watt to stand behind behind the agreement to buy back loans that don’t comply with the representations and warrants in exchange for the government guarantee. That way the borrowers who are victims of the sham would be made whole.

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