The Tampa Times gets it….they are correctly critical…
“It’s all accounting tricks,” said Matt Weidner, a St. Petersburg consumer-protection attorney who handles foreclosures. “Rather than provide real relief to consumers, these settlements provide tax relief to the banks.”
While banks get to claim a tax deduction, the consumers who receive loan forgiveness get hit later with a tax penalty, Weidner said. Thursday’s settlement addresses part of this in providing $490 million in tax relief to consumers facing that penalty.
But the banks are making out in deals that don’t come close to making the consumer whole, Weidner said.
“There is nothing we should be cheering about because these agreements are so small for the damage they caused,” he said.
But it’s unclear who specifically will qualify or if the money ultimately will help those hurt most by the reckless conduct of Bank of America and the companies it bought, Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch.
Florida is sharing in what is overall the largest government settlement with a single company in U.S. history. The total $16.65 billion mortgage deal includes a $9.65 billion cash penalty and $7 billion in relief to homeowners and blighted areas ravaged by abandoned homes.