A couple spends five years in a million-dollar home without making a mortgage payment [Washington Post]
In a move likely to be welcome to his Left base, the president is naming New York’s business-bashing attorney general to head up a probe into banks’ mortgage misconduct. Capital New York’s headline says it all: “Obama elevates Eric Schneiderman, Who Was Too Liberal for Andrew Cuomo.” Another view: Felix Salmon (& Roger Donway, Atlas Business Rights Center).
The federal government is suing to overturn Chicago’s law requiring lenders to maintain properties they don’t own [WSJ editorial]:
Earlier this month the federal agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sued Chicago for its vacant-buildings ordinance, which requires that a “mortgagee” register vacant properties, pay a $500 fee to the city, comply with onerous maintenance requirements and face a $1,000 daily fine for noncompliance. Any entity with a financial interest in the home—a bank, mortgage trust, mortgage servicer or Fan and Fred—is subject to the law, whether or not it has foreclosed on the home and owns the title….
The [Chicago enactment] came at the expense of small banks and mortgage servicers that can’t afford, for instance, to install “commercial-quality metal security panels” on windows or clean snow “from the walkway leading to the main entry door, and any public sidewalk adjoining the lot.” It’s legally dubious to impose these requirements on private owners of private property, and by doing so Chicago will raise the cost of mortgage loans to future homeowners.
More: Kevin Funnell, Bank Lawyer’s Blog; earlier here and here.
With some help from Cato colleagues:
- As bailouts go, Fannie/Freddie’s is on track to cost more than TARP [Mark Calabria; related, Arnold Kling] “Engineering the Financial Crisis: Systemic Risk and the Failure of Regulation” [Cato forum this past Thursday]
- Just like Valley Forge out there in the snow? Are you sure? [Ann Althouse]
- Student loans have become more burdensome, especially given inability to discharge in bankruptcy. Who if anyone deserves blame? [Kenneth Anderson, Kling, Mystal/Above the Law] President’s proposed student loan revamp “won’t cost taxpayers” (and if you believe that one…) [Neal McCluskey]
- NY police union rep: we’ll sue protesters if they hurt us [USA Today]
- No new graphic ideas since, what, 1893? New Yorker envisions top-hatted capitalists in whiskers [David Boaz] Some demographics behind income inequality [Mark Perry, more, yet more, Will Wilkinson (PDF), Reihan Salam, Political Calculations]
- Unions rally some protesters to intimidate businesspeople at their homes; nothing new about that except the label [CNN, Business Insider, earlier]
The St. Petersburg Times explores the ethical issues raised by the practice of a Florida lawyer who “flies his six-seat Piper Malibu around Florida championing the cause of the little guy. His target: the big, bad banks.” The plan: charging upfront fees of up to $5,000, plus a contingency, for the privilege of enrolling in “mass joinder” suits demanding foreclosure relief.
“Wells Fargo & Co. decided to exit reverse mortgages after federal officials insisted it foreclose on elderly customers who were behind on property tax and insurance payments, a Wells executive wrote in an email to business contacts Friday.” [American Banker]
California authorities have revoked the license to practice of attorney Michael T. Pines, who advised clients to break into their foreclosed homes [Funnell, earlier]