By William Hudson
Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $70 million penalty to end its five-year battle to settle claims over fraudulent foreclosure practices in the wake of the financial crisis- yet, Wells Fargo is continuing the same foreclosure practices they claim to have halted- while our elected officials pretend that Wells is in compliance with the National Mortgage Settlement. Banks create the illusion of ownership and compliance while government creates the illusion of enforcement- the homeowner is doomed. The parasitic relationship between banking and government is destroying the fabric of America.
Five years ago, Wells Fargo and other banks settled allegations that they’d fraudulently endorsed and fabricated legal papers used in home foreclosures and last year, the OCC imposed restrictions on Wells Fargo and the usual culprits because they hadn’t met settlement demands. Yet these banks continue to fabricate documents, robosign documents and illegally foreclose with impunity so how can a settlement be reached when nothing has changed?
Wells Fargo said in a statement that it was pleased that the OCC accepted its work on the settlement. Of course they are- this flimsy settlement is akin to getting away with murder. There is now no monetary fine that is punitive enough to punish the banks for the billions of dollars in profits stolen from American homeowners. There is no way to claw back these ill-gotten gains. The only real threat to the banks is the threat of prosecution and incarceration and the banks know they are above the law.
Faux settlements with no teeth, no convictions and no real financial penalties have one benefit- to create the appearance that the government is doing something on behalf of the American homeowner. Meanwhile these paltry fines create profits for government agencies, that are paid by shareholders, and written off as corporate losses. Banks will continue these practices with no fear of retribution and build the penalties into their profit/loss models.
The majority of Americans are now convinced the housing bubble is behind them, and that the banks were sufficiently penalized. $70 million sounds like a harsh penalty until you learn the banks have made untold billions from securitization and fraudulent foreclosures. The month of April brought record prices for residential real estate and low-down payment loans inflated home prices in an already inflated housing market. Meanwhile half of all Americans are on food-stamps, wages are flat, and corporate layoffs are mounting.
Wells Fargo has now received a green light from the National Mortgage administrators to return to business as usual (not that they ever stopped). If the National Mortgage folks would like proof that the practice of fabrication and robosigning continues unabated, the Lending Lies Team would be happy to provide hundreds of current files in which Wells Fargo is continuing their fraudulent scheme.
Filed under: foreclosure |