With New York foreclosures in the mix of the robo-signing foreclosure controversy, there seems to be alarming rhetoric that seems to shift responsibility away from the banks and towards homeowners.
A typical example is the taunting post by Halah Touryalai on Forbes.com titled, “Foreclosure Proble Won’t Get Your House Back,” she notes that
“[B]anks are delaying foreclosure proceedings and clogging up the housing pipeline. That hurts an already fragile housing market since foreclosed homes sales will be stalled” and condescendingly advises, “it would be wise to consider the impact an indefinite clog in the housing system would have on the U.S. economy.”
To paraphrase, don’t start hoping for handouts you freeloading middle class homeowners because you’re just bringing us all down.
However, that’s equivalent to shifting the blame to the people who have the least control over the problem. The mortgage and finance industry created a real estate bubble, they created a foreclosure crisis and now they’ve created a mess of the foreclosure process. And homeowners need to be scolded to not hope for some relief when the banks screwed up the process?
For all the talk of “personal responsibility” in this country, our financial institutions and their flag carriers seem awfully adept at shifting the blame in these situations. As if to say, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain here who just caused a huge problem. Focus instead on all of these people who might get a break out of this, even though they really have no control over the process.
If they don’t want homeowners to “benefit” from this controversy, then they should have been more careful with the foreclosure process to begin with.
Touryalai also for some reason seems to take the comments of JPMorgan Chase at face value.
In this morning’s third quarter earnings call JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said the underlying information in the bank’s mortgage foreclosure documents are accurate. “We don’t think there are any cases where people have been evicted out of homes where they shouldn’t have been,” he added.
First off, Dimon qualified his statement by saying “we don’t think.” Secondly, based on what the banks and mortgage industry have been doing the last several years, why would any rational person take a statement from them at face value? It’s in their interest to downplay the issue. But neither they nor Touryalai has any idea how all of this will shake out. Remember, people said similar things at the beginning of the Enron case. Until you know the depth of the problems, though, you can’t begin to make statements like that.
And figuring out the depth of the problems is really what’s going on here. It’s not the fault of homeowners that the mortgage industry is so inept and sloppy. Until we understand the depth of the problem (and who knows what other problems are out there), we can’t dig out of this as a country. Trying to sweep it under the rug and threaten homeowners with responsibility for clogging up a fragile housing market is to forget who created the fragile housing market in the first place.
If you’re dealing with New York foreclosure issues and have questions about how the current foreclosure situation might affect you, please feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation.
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