2012 GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, who is basing his presidential campaign largely around his supposed economic bonafides, hasn’t missed an opportunity to bash the Obama administration for failing to stem the foreclosure crisis. “We’ve got housing prices continuing to decline, and we have foreclosures at record levels. This president has failed,” Romney said during a primary debate in March.
Romney even made a campaign stop in a Nevada neighborhood blighted by foreclosure. However, Romney’s concern for the housing crisis seems to end where his campaign coffers begin. As the Boston Globe noted today, T. Martin Fiorentino Jr., one of Romney’s top fundraiser, is a registered lobbyist who lobbied on anti-predatory lending legislation on behalf of a company called Lender Processive Services, a notorious foreclosure mill:
As he has built his fund-raising machine, [Romney] has relied heavily on a man who has lobbied Congress on mortgage reform and antipredatory lending legislation that contained strict rules aimed at preventing another subprime mortgage collapse.
T. Martin Fiorentino Jr., who raised $102,900 for Romney, lobbied on the legislation on behalf of Lender Processing Services, a so-called “foreclosure mill’’ that was reprimanded in April by the government for “unsound practices related to residential mortgage loan serving and foreclosure processing.’’
If anything, the Globe downplays the problematic nature of Lender Processive Services. As Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism explained, the company was at the forefront of the robo-signing scandal, during which banks approved thousands of foreclosures without verifying basic information or engaging in due process:
Lender Processing Services has played a singularly destructive role in the mortgage servicing industry. The firm not only offered document fabrication services through DocX, a company it acquired and was forced to shut down after the Department of Justice started sniffing about, but is being revealed to be involved in more abuses as far as borrower records and legal process are concerned. [...]
This abuses matter due to the role that LPS has come to play. It is the biggest player in default services, meaning it acts as the de facto selector and supervisor of foreclosure mills via its system, LPS Desktop, which manages and oversees the work of local law firms on behalf of its bank servicer clients. It also provides the servicing platform for more than half of the servicing industry. And as our two latest examples show, the company clearly places its profits over integrity of records and due process.
The company was so keen to speed foreclosures on troubled borrowers that it hired temps to forge the signatures of its robo-signers. Considering that the Associated Press reported today that robo-signing is still very much alive and well, Romney should have to explain how his purported concern for homeowners squares with the actions of one of his top fundraisers.