This Week in ForeclosureGate: Senate Hearings, State Settlement Negotiations?
ForeclosureGate is big and getting bigger - it's more than just a single story or two at this point. Moreover, it's being investigated and analyzed by so many different authorities at this point that even the most aggressive plaintiffs' trial lawyer -- eager to sue on behalf of some homeowner somewhere -- must swoon at the complexity.
Here are just a few news items of how ForeclosureGate issues are progressing:
1. Bank regulators have announced that they will be investigating MERS. According to the Wall Street Journal, Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh has given notice that his agency is examining Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), in conjunction with the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
2. Moody's Investor Service issued its ruling regarding ForeclosureGate, opining that the risks are extremely low to moderate and should have a limited impact.
3. Settlement negotiations between all 50 Attorneys General and the major banks involved in ForeclosureGate are underway, with Iowa's Attorney General Tom Miller reporting that a resolution is "months away" while Bank of America president CEO Brian Moynihan was telling the Senate this week that a "quick settlement" is possible. (Perhaps both men were saying the same thing?)
4. The Congressional Oversight Panel Report was issued on November 16, 2010. (You can read it in its entirety here.) Here, the opinion is that major banks face losing billions of dollars, a serious threat to the financial sector. Additionally, ForeclosureGate's bad paper issue not only exacerbates negative interruptions in a hurting housing market but it also weakens government attempts to prevent foreclosures now and in the future.
5. The Senate Banking Committee hearing on ForeclosureGate was held on Tuesday. As a sidenote, homeowners are becoming so involved in ForeclosureGate that some even attended the hearing.
Here, from CSPAN, video of citizens accusing their bank, Chase Mortgage, of lying during Tuesday's Senate Banking Committee proceedings: