That’s why we have the Fed — to stand up for the bankers!
The Federal Reserve is pushing a new mortgage regulation that would effectively eliminate the most powerful federal remedy for predatory lending.
The regulation would severely limit a practice called “rescission,” used to strike down demonstrably-illegal or fraudulent loan contracts and void a bank’s ill-gotten gains from such predatory lending practices. When a mortgage borrower wins a rescission case in court, the bank loses the right to foreclose, and has to give up all profits from interest and fees on the loan. The borrower still has to repay the principal — the original amount of money extended by the bank — but can’t be kicked out of the house.
Under the Fed’s new proposal, however, borrowers would be required to pay off the balance of the loan before the bank loses its right to foreclose — that means borrowers could still lose their homes, even in cases where banks have broken the law.
Unsurprisingly, banks support the move, but consumer advocates say this would essentially make rescission worthless to borrowers.
“The … proposal would eviscerate the single most effective tool that homeowners have to stop foreclosures and avoid predatory loans,” reads a letter penned by Margot Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center and signed by 16 national public interest groups, along with 33 state housing and legal aid groups and 144 individual attorneys. “Passage of the proposed rule will considerably exacerbate foreclosure statistics in this nation.”
Six Democratic senators, led by Sherrod Brown of Ohio, also urged the Fed to reconsider its rule in a Monday letter. “In this time of record foreclosures and reports of systemic problems with the operations of the largest mortgage servicers, the proposed revisions are unfortunate and unnecessary,” the letter reads. “The mortgage market needs greater oversight and accountability to restore borrower confidence lost in the mortgage crisis. The proposed rules would undermine this goal.” The signatories included outgoing Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (Conn.), incoming Chairman Tim Johnson (S.D.), and Sens. Jack Reed (R.I.), Daniel Akaka (Hawaii) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.).
Of course, no one has any control over the Fed, so they’ll do whatever they want.