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Slap on the hand?

And too little, too late? Sounds like it:

WASHINGTON – The federal government on Wednesday ordered 16 of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders and servicers to reimburse homeowners who were improperly foreclosed upon.

Government regulators also directed the financial firms to hire auditors to determine how many homeowners could have avoided foreclosure in 2009 and 2010.

Citibank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the nation’s four largest banks, were among the financial firms cited in the joint report by the Federal Reserve, Office of Thrift Supervision and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The Fed said it believed financial penalties were “appropriate” and that it planned to levy fines in the future. All three regulators said they would review the foreclosure audits. Under the agreements reached, the lenders and servicers have 45 days to hire an auditor and will “remediate all financial injury to borrowers caused by any errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies.” There is no minimum or maximum dollar amount identified.

In the four years since the housing bust, about 5 million homes have been foreclosed upon. About 2.4 million primary mortgages were in foreclosure at the end of last year. Another 2 million were 90 days or more past due, putting them at serious risk of foreclosure.

Critics, including Democratic lawmakers in Congress, say the order is too lenient on the lenders. House Democrats introduced legislation Wednesday that would require lenders to perform a series of steps, including an appeals process, before starting foreclosures.

“I want to know what abuses (the government agencies) identified, which banks committed them and how their proposed consent agreement is going to fix these problems,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Government and Oversight Committee. “Based on what I have read … I am not encouraged at all.”


(Editorial cartoon by Tom Toles and published in the Washington Post April 7, 2011. Via Cab Drollery.)

Nuclear power plants

I try not to think of the three that ring Philadelphia.

Debt ceiling

The game explained by Dave Weigel.

What they’re not telling us

About radioactive milk.

Rock ‘n’ roll suicide

Bowie live:

Waterloo sunset


I am the cosmos

I know I posted this recently, but you can never have too much Big Star:

Two things I learned on the internets today

1) Wellbutrin makes you dehydrated and gives you really bad “Oh my God, do I have a brain tumor?” headaches. For most people, this goes away after two or three weeks. Some people say it’s much better if they drink a lot of water.

2) The generic version (the one I can afford) is the one that causes the headaches.

Obama’s speech

Read the whole thing here.

Greg Sargent’s take here.

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