Imagine this…no less an authority than the Congress of the United States of America…(theoretically at least the embodiment of the power of the American people, but in practice in most cases the protectors and defenders of the corporate interests…but I digress) demands that the banks come before them and explain their campaign of lies, of fraud, of crimes that is the whole practice called foreclosure fraud. And would you like to know how the banks respond?
SCREW YOU….IT’S A TRADE SECRET, WE WON’T ANSWER TO YOU!
Hmmm….yes….that sounds about right….certainly a continuation of the entirety of practice of corporate America today…(And by corporate America, I also of course mean the arms of government that are owned by the corporations…but again, I digress.)
At a meeting yesterday, Warren, Cummings, and Rep. Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, were informed by staff from the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) that they would not produce any documents relating to specific mortgage servicers involving illegal foreclosures, inflated fees, or fraudulent court documents. Staff from the agencies claimed these documents are the “trade secrets” of mortgage servicing companies and should be withheld from Members of Congress because producing them could be interpreted as a waiver of their authority to withhold proprietary business information from the public.
“We strongly believe that documents should not be withheld from any Member of Congress based on the flawed argument that illegal activity by banks is somehow their proprietary business information. Breaking the law is not a corporate trade secret,” wrote the Members. “As regulators, you identified systemic and widespread abuses two years ago, and concealing important information about these violations limits our ability to fulfill our responsibility to conduct oversight over the actions of mortgage servicing companies and to develop legislation to protect our constituents from further abuse.”
Two years ago this week, the regulators issued a public report announcing that 14 mortgage servicers were engaging in “violations of applicable federal and state law,” that these abuses have “widespread consequences for the national housing market and borrowers,” and that they had identified illegal foreclosures against our nation’s men and women in uniform who are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). After directing the 14 servicers to hire independent consultants to conduct a review that would identify as many harmed borrowers as possible, in February the regulators terminated the review and finalized settlement agreements with 11 of the servicers.