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House Republicans Want Penalties for WALK AWAYS

House Republicans Want Penalties for WALK AWAYS


WAKE UP PEOPLE!

So now it appears that the this ARTICLE written a few weeks back has struck a nerve with the GOP. You know something does not fit well here. I mean why are they looking to punish anyone when the ones they should be punishing is the Banks for lying, corruption, stealing and fraud. Perhaps this all was instigated by these crooks to start a war game?

First you take our money to bail out these imbeciles then we find out it’s all a scam and NOW you want to penalize people because they have nothing invested?? I mean REALLY?? If I know this is coming better pack up now than later!

So my friends it is clear here that they are obviously being trained to act by the banks themselves.

House Republicans Want Penalties for Strategic Defaulters

By. Carrie Bay 06/17/2010 DSNEWS

Tumbling property values have left nearly a quarter of borrowers owing more on their mortgage than the home is worth, and recent studies have shown that when underwater, more and more of these homeowners are opting to walk away from their loan obligation even if they can afford to make the payments.

This idea of “strategic default” has become a universal concern within the industry, particularly since the social stigma attached to foreclosure has changed so dramatically in the aftermath of the housing crisis.

While defaulting strategically is not as frowned upon by the general public as it used to be, there are some lawmakers whose disdain for the practice has sparked a push to institute stronger deterrents for walking away and penalize those that do.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FHA Reform Act, with measures designed to replenish the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) depleted reserves.

A lesser publicized provision that was tacked onto the bill at the last minute would make homeowners who strategically default ineligible for an FHA-insured loan in the future.

The rider was introduced by Rep. Chris Lee (R-New York). Speaking on the House floor, Lee, who already had the backing of those in his party, tried to drum up Democratic support for the add-on stipulation.

“If a borrower makes the decision to strategically default on a loan, they certainly should not be allowed to benefit from a government-subsidized program,” he said.

The provision passed in a voice vote, without opposition.

“We are not talking about those families who have no choice or who simply can no longer afford their payments,” Lee said. “We are talking about the new phenomenon of a person who voluntarily chooses to stop paying their mortgage even though they still have the ability to pay.”

The FHA reform bill, including the agency ban on strategic defaulters, has not yet been approved by the Senate. And some onlookers say the part targeting borrowers who up and walk away will be particularly tricky.

It would require the HUD secretary to devise a strategy for defining and pinpointing strategic defaulters, implement screening procedures to ensure these homeowners are not granted an FHA-backed mortgage, and then enforce the new policy.

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Don’t Blame the Dream of Home Ownership

Don’t Blame the Dream of Home Ownership


Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner

Co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect

Posted: June 13, 2010 06:52 PM

Here is a fable that is making the rounds. It is a collection of half-truths and outright lies:

The financial meltdown was the result of too many people pursuing the American Dream of home ownership. People who couldn’t really afford to be homeowners became speculators. Government added to the damage with cheap mortgages, misguided laws such as the Community Reinvestment Act, and overgrown government-sponsored agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

This stuff is a staple of rightwing talk shows. In a moment, I will rebut each element of this storyline, but first I want to single out a wildly misleading piece by the New York Times financial columnist Joe Nocera. The piece, which ran in Saturday’s business section, was titled “Wake-Up Time for a Dream.”

The dream — surprise — is home ownership. It is depressing that a rightwing theme has invaded the mainstream Times.

Nocera writes, “The financial crisis might well have been avoided if we as a culture hadn’t invested so much political and psychological capital in the idea of owning a home. After all, the subprime mortgage business’s supposed raison d’etre was making homeownership possible for people who lacked the means — or the credit scores — to get a traditional mortgage.”

Now this is just malarkey. And the Nocera piece is worth reading in its entirety to appreciate just how an influential financial columnist can get a critically important story so utterly wrong.

For starters, the homeownership rate was already 64 percent in the mid 1960s. It peaked at about 69 percent just before the bubble burst — but was nearly 68 percent in 2001 before subprime lending took off. Back in the 19th century, thanks to the Homestead Acts of the Lincoln era, homeownership (mainly family farms) was well over 70 percent in much of the west.

Ordinary working people can become homeowners and accumulate property wealth when two elements are present. Government programs have to be competently run and prevent private-industry sharks from abusing them. And working people need a degree of financial predictability in their job security.

In the period between, Franklin Roosevelt and LBJ, both factors prevailed. The Federal National Mortgage Association, later privatized as Fannie Mae, was part of the government. If mortgages met its standards, FNMA bought them from local banks and replenished bank working capital. Just as importantly, wages of working people steadily rose, so that more and more ordinary Americans could afford mortgage payments. Not surprisingly, homeownership rates rose. After Congress passed fair housing legislation in 1968, so that minorities could get a fair shot, black homeownership took off, too.

But beginning in the 1970s, wages stopped increasing with productivity growth. And the financial sharks got hold of programs intended to promote homeownership.

A newly privatized FNMA increasingly thought more about using its implicit government guarantee to increase market share and enrich its executives and shareholders. Not until Bush II, however, in 2004 and 2005 just before the housing collapse, was Fannie directed by the political masters in the White House to lower its standards and purchase pools of dubious mortgages so that Bush’s “Ownership Society” could claim credit for increasing homeownership rates.

Fannie Mae, a corrupted agency, has become a handy all purpose scapegoat. The lack of a provision in the financial reform legislation to resolve the mess at Fannie has become the main alibi that Republican senators give for voting against the whole reform package.

Nocera contends that the subprime industry’s “raison d’etre” was to promote homeownership “for people who lacked the means — or the credit scores — to get a traditional mortgage.” Sorry, Joe. The industry’s reason for being was so that financial wise guys could make a bundle at the expense of suckers. Low income prospective homeowners were merely useful props. They were the poster children, but not the real purpose.

(In 1994, the same Nocera was celebrating prosperity-for-all in a wildly over-optimistic book titled “A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Moneyed Class.” If his latest debunking is Nocera’s way of doing penance for his own earlier misplaced euphoria, it is just not helpful.)

The pity is that carefully run government programs, from the Homestead Acts to Neighborhood Housing Services, to the good work of community development financial institutions such as Chicago’s ShoreBank, have indeed increased the rate of homeownership among working people, and have done so by avoiding bait-and-switch products like subprime loans, not promoting them. The culprit is not the dream of owning your own home, but the utter cynicism of the financial sharks who took advantage of people innocently pursuing the dream.

Large numbers of subprime loans were in fact marketed to elderly people who had low mortgage debts, who could not live on fixed incomes and who needed to refinance their homes to take out equity. This was not about promoting homeownership but destroying it. Many of these victims are now losing their homes. The stripping of home equity is partly a story of a collapsing pension system in the face of rising costs for America’s seniors.

The 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, which encouraged banks to keep credit flowing to less affluent neighborhoods “consistent with sound lending standards” is not part of this fiasco at all. Had CRA been enforced, subprime loans that waived underwriting standards would have been illegal. Most of the mortgage brokers who retailed subprime loans were not even covered by CRA.

It’s certainly true (and no serious person claims otherwise) that 100 percent of Americans will never own their own homes. Some people are too transient or just too poor. Some would prefer to rent. But, maddeningly, one element of the story that the debunkers of the American Dream invariably leave out is the near-collapse of programs for affordable rental housing. Among moderate income Americans who rent, the fraction of income spent on housing rose steadily for three decades.

Ironically, many low income people turned to homeownership as a last resort because they couldn’t find an affordable rental — and the same Bush Administration that gutted subsidies for affordable rental housing refused to enforce laws on the books specifying standards for responsible lending to aspiring homeowners.

A sound housing policy would combine assistance for homeownership with affordable rental housing. A homeownership rate of 70 percent, which is common in several affluent European nations, is perfectly reasonable — if our political system keeps sharks like the subprime gang from wrecking the system and agencies such as FNMA from being corrupted.

Fannie Mae, which over-reached and went broke as a private company with a government guarantee, is now a ward of the federal government. It should be restored to its original form under Roosevelt, as a public corporation with high principles and high standards.

In the aftermath of the subprime collapse, many hard working lower income people, including a great many African Americans, have seen their dreams wiped out. The home ownership rate in black communities, which were targeted for subprime loans, is in free fall. Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy reports a devastating increase in the black-white wealth gap.

The same New York Times recently published a fine piece by reporter Michael Powell on what is happening to the black middle class in Memphis, “Blacks in Memphis Lose Decades of Economic Gains.”

The same story could be told about hundreds of predominantly African American neighborhoods.

The villain of the piece is the mortgage meltdown coupled with rising unemployment rates that are the collateral damage of the same financial collapse. The villain is not moderate income homeowners.

These people paid their mortgages on time, and there was nothing wrong with their dream. What was wrong was the failure of their government to keep the private financial industry from stealing the dream.

Robert Kuttner’s new book is A Presidency in Peril. He is co-editor of The American Prospect and a senior fellow at Demos.

Source: Huffington Post


© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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House GOP launched an assault Thursday on Struggling Homeowners

House GOP launched an assault Thursday on Struggling Homeowners


House Targets Underwater Homeowners

Ryan Grim First Posted: 06-10-10 02:24 PM   |   Updated: 06-10-10 03:21 PM
ryan@huffingtonpost.com | HuffPost Reporting

The House GOP launched an assault Thursday on homeowners who walk away from underwater mortgages, arguing that such foreclosed-on former homeowners are using the money they save to dine out and go on cruises.

The Wall Street Journal has reported on families that have chosen to stop paying their mortgage and instead use the extra money they are saving each month to ‘buy season tickets to Disneyland…take a Carnival cruise to Mexico…’ and go out to dinner more often,” says House Republican leadership in an e-mail to colleagues explaining the anti-strategic-default effort.

In other words, consumers with more money tend to spend it, spurring demand — exactly what the economy needs. More than a few economists argue that the ongoing jobless crisis is a direct result of a lack of consumer demand. A homeowner stuck in an underwater mortgage is, each month, paying off a mortgage that is worth more than their home. The increased cost of housing means that money that could otherwise could be circulated through the economy – at restaurants, Disneyland, or on cruises, for instance – is sent off to Wall Street, whose profits have been soaring despite the economic downturn.

The GOP offered its provision as “motion to recommit,” which is one of the minority party’s few ways to amend a bill on the floor. Known as an MTR, the motion is generally stripped out in the Senate if it is adopted in the House. Such measures are put forward more to score political points than to craft policy, but the mood of the House can sometimes be gleaned from the vote’s outcome. In this case, Democrats chose not to fight, and accepted the motion with a simple voice vote.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com and an adviser to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, says that strategically defaulting is “a form of stimulus, a little tax cut.” Estimates of the number of homeowners are underwater range from 10 to 15 million.

Dean Baker, an economist with the progressive-leaning Center for Economic Policy and Research, agreed that strategic defaults are good for the economy, but also noted the irony that the GOP effort interferes with the market.

When Democrats were pushing to enact “cram down,” which would allow judges to rewrite mortgage contracts in bankruptcy court, conservative Democrats and the GOP argued that it would violate the “sanctity of the contract.”

There is only sanctity, however, for one side of that contract. “It also disgusts me that the Republicans would use Big Government to interfere with the sanctity of contract,” said Baker in an e-mail. “Those who do a strategic default are complying with their contract. The deal was that the banks get back the house if the homeowner doesn’t pay the mortgage. Now, the Republicans are arguing that the nanny state has to look out for the little boys and girls at the big banks who are too dumb to understand contracts. They are going to use the power of the government to punish people because they acted on the terms of the contract to the disadvantage of the banks.”

Baker said that the GOP position should put to a rest the assumption that liberals favor big government while conservatives favor free markets. He doubted that it would, however.

“It’s kind of an overreach by the federal government, isn’t it?” teased Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the Education & Labor Committee, when told of the GOP motion. He said he hadn’t been aware of the voice vote, but said he was sure it wouldn’t become law. The motion, he said, is indicative of GOP priorities.

“They’re back to punishing the poor guy that got stuck with the subprime mortgage and we haven’t yet figured out what to do with the people who gave them the mortgage,” said Miller.

This story has been updated to include the Democratic acceptance of the MTR.

Read the GOP memo on their motion to recommit:

From: Vieson, Chris Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 10:15 AM Subject: WHIP LD Alert: Republican Motion to Recommit FHA Reform
The Republican Motion to Recommit H.R. 5072, the FHA Reform Act, would amend the bill to prohibit individuals who strategically default on their mortgage from accessing the FHA program and protect taxpayers from financing a bailout of FHA programs.

Strategic Defaults

A strategic default occurs when a borrower decides to stop paying their mortgage even though they can still afford their payments. It is usually undertaken by those who owe more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth.

The Wall Street Journal has reported on families that have chosen to stop paying their mortgage and instead use the extra money they are saving each month to “buy season tickets to Disneyland…take a Carnival cruise to Mexico…” and go out to dinner more often.

Companies have even sprung up to capitalize on the new trend with websites advising people (for a fee) on how to go about a strategic default. These companies actually advertise that after a few years an individual who chooses to default on their mortgage should be able to buy a home again, including through government loan agencies.

60 Minutes reported on individuals who defend their decision to strategically default saying, “…with the money savings that I will have in four to six years, I’m confident I’ll have money to buy my way into a house if I want to.”

Strategic defaults raise costs for responsible borrowers, many of whom may currently be struggling to make their mortgage payment themselves, but who take their obligations to pay their debts seriously. The MTR would ensure that no one who chooses to simply stop paying their mortgage, even though they can afford to do so, is able to benefit in the future from the government’s FHA program.

Future Bail-Outs

The Republican motion also protects American taxpayers from possible future bailouts of FHA programs. Washington currently has a bailout culture at the expense of hard-working Americans and this MTR puts into place protections against FHA receiving a taxpayer-backed bailout.

The Republican MTR is a vote to expose and prevent fraud and abuse from FHA and protect the American taxpayer from another Washington bailout.

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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