Sen. Chris Dodd brought the big banks back to Capitol Hill Tuesday to hear more about the foreclosure mess.
By the end of the day Dodd, who is retiring from the Senate after presiding over the watering down of financial reform, had a novel response: he called for an investigation.
By now nearly federal agency as well as every state attorney general is already investigating the scandal, after banks disclosed the shoddy record-keeping they were using in the foreclosure process.
How hard any of these investigations is really digging is an open question. But the more the merrier, according to Dodd. He suggested it would be a first test for the systemic risk council, which was set up under the financial reform law that bears his name, along with his House colleague Barney Frank.
The systemic risk council will be made up of members of the Obama administration, led by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The administration has already brushed off the foreclosure scandal, so it’s highly unlikely the council would come back later and reverse its assessment.
Meanwhile the congressional bailout monitor, now headed by former Delaware senator Ted Kaufman, issued a stern warning about the consequences of the foreclosure scandal in its monthly report. “If document irregularities prove to be pervasive and, more importantly, throw into question ownership of not only foreclosed properties but also pooled mortgages, the result could be significant harm to the financial stability,” the monitor wrote.
Not to worry, the big banks keep reassuring us. It’s just a matter of some sloppy paperwork.
The big banks’ credibility, to put it politely, is not so hot. For example, Bank of America insists that they would be doing better modifying mortgages if not for the investors standing in the way. So the investigative journalism outfit Pro Publica took a look and found out their explanation was bogus.