Over the weekend, Bank of America was forced to follow its Wall Street brethren JP Morgan Chase and Ally Financial in implementing a foreclosure moratorium, after evidence emerged that thousands of foreclosure filings a month were okayed by “robo-signers”: employees who weren’t verifying very basic information on the foreclosure forms. In Florida alone, “a recent sample of foreclosure cases in the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida showed that 20 percent of those set for summary judgment involved deficient documents.”
But some banks where potential problems have emerged — including Wells Fargo, the second largest mortgage servicer in the country — have not suspended foreclosures. This has led a cadre of lawmakers — including a bipartisan group of state Attorneys General — to call for a foreclosure moratorium and investigations into the potentially fraudulent bank practices that are resulting in families losing their homes. Here’s a list of lawmakers who have already spoken out:
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and 30 other Democratic members of California’s congressional delegation.
Conspicuously absent from this list are any congressional Republicans. This really isn’t surprising though, when you consider the way in which they have done Wall Street’s bidding since the housing crisis first gained steam.
Congressional Republicans, remember, regurgitated industry talking points when it came to mortgage cram-downs (which could have kept many troubled borrowers out of foreclosure), pressured bailed-out banks to not compromise with Democrats on anti-foreclosure measures, and then advocated that the Obama administration pull the plug on its own foreclosure prevention efforts, leaving homeowners to the mercy of the banks.
Sorting out the potentially thousands of homeowners who may have been improperly foreclosed upon is going to be a monumental task, as is reorganizing the process to ensure that no more homeowners are improperly thrown out of their homes. This is about more than simply those homeowners: it’s about upholding the rule of law and due process. A moratorium and investigations are more than warranted, and it’d be nice to hear something other than crickets from one of America’s two major political parties.