The big banks are headed to Washington D.C. in an effort to weaken any potential settlement stemming from complaints about the banks’ misbehavior in the foreclosure crisis.
Those of us who favor holding the banks accountable are taking a different route Tuesday – through the country’s 50 state capitals.
A coalition of homeowner and consumer advocates are encouraging people to contact their state attorney generals today in an effort to encourage them to conduct real robust investigations into the big banks’ foreclosure fraud, not just go through the motions.
The official response to disclosures of the big banks’ sloppiness and downright fraud in the foreclosure process has been a mishmosh. President Obama refused to declare a moratorium while the mess was sorted out; the state attorney generals promised a tough investigation but don’t appear to have followed through, and then the various federal bank regulators got involved in an effort to negotiate a settlement.
One strategy for the big banks and their Republican allies has been to demonize Elizabeth Warren, a strong homeowners’ advocate who has been working to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created as part of the financial reform package passed last year. While the CFPB doesn’t exist yet, Warren has apparently been involved in the settlement process because that agency will have a hand in enforcing a settlement.
At the national level, it’s not just the Republicans that are covering for the bankers. The Obama administration in its present mood of bank coziness hasn’t been inclined to either prosecute bankers for violating the law or drive a hard bargain with them.
So that leaves it up to the attorneys general, several of whom, including Illinois’ Lisa Madigan, Iowa’s Tom Miller and California’s new attorney general have promised tough stances in protecting homeowners and holding banks accountable. Which means it’s up to us to call them – today – and remind them to hang tough.