How regulators, Republicans and big banks fought for a big increase in lucrative but risky corporate loans

April 6, 2019 | Washington Post Actions by federal regulators and Republicans in Congress over the past two years have paved the way for banks and other financial companies to issue more than $1 trillion in risky corporate loans, sparking fears that Washington and Wall Street are repeating the mistakes made before the financial crisis.

The moves undercut policies put in place by banking regulators six years ago that aimed to prevent high-risk lending from once again damaging the economy. Read more here.

Foreclosure Tragedy Can’t Compete with Ryan Lochte

The Huffington Post | August 19, 2016    Foreclosures are no longer fodder for major news headlines. The media intensity diminished as Americans became dulled to the stories of millions of families being kicked out of their homes by big banks and Wall Street-backed hedge funds. Instead, the media whips up a frenzy over Ryan Lochte and his pals vandalizing a bathroom in Rio de Janeiro. Yet, out of the media spotlight, our fellow Americans continue to be foreclosed out of their homes.

Kathleen Gross and her family will lose their Paradise Valley, Arizona home of twenty-five years to foreclosure next Tuesday, August 23. This will mark the end of a relentless years-long battle with a series of mortgage companies. “All of our memories are here. We raised our children in this home,” she wept. “We have been in this neighborhood for over two decades and don’t want to leave.”  Read more here.

“It is happening again”: David Dayen on the Epidemic of Mortgage Fraud and the Rigged Economy that Sets it in Motion

David Dayen's new book explores the criminal conspiracy that destroyed the lives of millions

Salon| May 19, 2016      Earlier this week the New York Times featured a depressing story about homeless people living in the foreclosed and abandoned houses that still dot the landscape in Nevada, reminding everyone of that awful time just a few years ago when families all over the country lost their homes in what has become euphemistically known as “the housing crisis.” It was actually much more specific than that, it was an epidemic of criminal mortgage fraud and it devastated millions of people, many of whom have still not recovered.

My Salon colleague (and one-time blogging cohort) David Dayen has written a wonderful new book called “Chain of Title” about some amazing Americans down in Florida who were caught in the maw of this epic criminal conspiracy and bravely took on the system when no one else would do it. Faced with a morass of impenetrable documents and intractable officials they took matters into their own hands and uncovered the crime of the new century by becoming internet muckrakers, using crowd-sourcing and social media. And in the process of following their fascinating story, we learn the full scope of this massive crime which goes all the way from the Florida suburbs to the boardrooms of Wall Street.

I had a chance to ask Dayen some questions about the book this week.   Read more here.

Is Another Housing Crisis Just Around the Corner?

Fox News|  January 19, 2016     Movie sequels are rarely as good as the original films on which they’re based. The same dictum, it appears, holds for finance. The 2008 housing market collapse was bad enough, but it appears now that we’re on the verge of experiencing it all again. And the financial sequel, working from a similar script as its original version, could prove to be just as devastating to the American taxpayer.

The Federal National Mortgage Association (commonly referred to as Fannie Mae) plans a mortgage loan reboot, which could produce the same insane and predictable results as when the mortgage agency loaned so much money to people who had neither the income, nor credit history, to qualify for a traditional loan.   Read more here.

Goldman Reaches $5 Billion Settlement Over Mortgage-Backed Securities

The Wall Street Journal | January 15, 2016      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to the largest regulatory penalty in its history, resolving U.S. and state claims stemming from the Wall Street firm’s sale of mortgage bonds heading into the financial crisis.

In settling with the Justice Department and a collection of other state and federal entities for more than $5 billion, Goldman will join a list of other big banks in moving past one of the biggest, and most costly, legal headaches of the crisis era.  Read more here

Trailer: The Big Short

Wikipedia |  The Big Short is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film written and directed by Adam McKay. It is based on the 2010 book of the same name by Michael Lewis, about the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 by the build-up of the housing and credit bubble. The film stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt. The film is scheduled to be released on December 11, 2015, by Paramount Pictures.


One Bank is Finally on Trial for the Financial Crisis

The trial of the century—a long-awaited determination of the damage perpetrated by Wall Street institutions in the financial crisis—began Monday in New York. But it’s only happening because one bank—unlike Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Bank of America—refused to settle out of court. The Japanese firm Nomura stands accused of lying to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about the quality of mortgages pooled into securities during the housing bubble. The case will finally reveal hard data on just how much money Nomura, and the rest of the industry, made through fraud.  Read more here.

House Votes To Audit The Fed... And Deregulate Wall Street

WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to audit the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, a broadly bipartisan call for financial reform that accompanied two other bipartisan votes providing government perks to Wall Street on everything from higher mortgage fees to speculation in securities markets.  Read more here