Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Warren’

Elizabeth Warren Stops Obama From Signing Foreclosure Friendly Bill

 

You might be wondering why would our government would try to loosen the documentation standards to make it easier for banks to foreclose on homeowners in the the midst of the worst foreclosure crisis in the history of the United States. Yeah, I am wondering about that, too.

See, both houses of congress passed a bill that would have made it easier for banks to foreclose across state lines by easing notarization standards. President Obama was going to sign the bill, too. Another win for the banks who are awash in profits while millions of homeowners flounder under the weight of the sagging economy and the bad loans that Wall Street pushed on them.

Elizabeth Warren who has been given broad authority in shaping the new watchdog agency within the Fed dedicated to making sure that all financial products are safe for the American consumer, and who reports directly to President Obama, persuaded him to veto the bill, and so he did.

Wall Street and the financial industry do not like Ms. Warren. She pulls no punches and tells it like it is. She also understands the plight of the middle class and how hard it is for American families to make it these days and she is the champion of average every day Americans long missing from Obama’s Administration.

Elizabeth Warren Appointed Interim Head Of CFPA and More!

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President Obama has finally done something that makes sense! He’s given Elizabeth Warren the job as interim head to establish the agency. He has also made her a special advisor answerable only to him to set this up properly. What this means is that ole Timmy Geithner, the bankers’ best buddy, won’t have too much say over the agency or Ms. Warren’s stewardship.

I’ve been hoping for this, as so many other Americans have across the United States. Ms. Warren is a tireless consumer advocate with a pragmatic no-nonsense approach to finance. The banks don’t like her because she wants to close the loopholes in the laws that allow them to take advantage of those least able to cope with financial difficulties.

To be sure, Ms. Warren does not advocate reckless spending and living above one’s means. All she wants to do is bring back the concept of fairness to consumer finance.  She also understands that what has happened to most Americans in the last thirty years is not that we’ve spent our way crazy, buying big screen TVs and McMansions. She understands that the average middle class family has slowly been leveraged out of the American dream by the fixed expenses, those expenses which cannot be budgeted away.

She wants to do away with credit card and mortgage contracts that are hundreds of pages long. She wants consumers to be educated about what they’re signing when they get a credit card or a home loan. She wants them to understand and truly be able to compare between financial products and make educated decisions for themselves. Right now, there is no way they can do that, because really, who is going to read through pages and pages of a credit card contract that even the credit card company representatives can’t understand let alone explain?

So, hurray to Elizabeth Warren!

Credit Card Companies Milking Consumers: The Number One Reason Why We Need Elizabeth Warren as Director of The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

An article today in the Washington Post discussed how credit card companies are now charging customers with good credit, who manage their finances wisely by paying off their balances in full every month. Such customers are now finding that they’re having to pay an annual fee, where they didn’t before.

The reason for this is that credit card penalty fee income has been reduced by the new credit card regulations and the banks, not wanting to see sources of profit dry up, no matter how ill-gained those profits were, are now having to charge the only customers they have left: those with good credit who have traditionally never been a great source of profit. As Curtis Arnold, owner of CardRatings.com says “The only true deadbeat customer is someone who has a card and never uses it. Just having good credit alone in today’s market is not enough for that customer to be profitable."

The article goes on to say that this problem illustrates the “challenges” facing the credit card industry, as if the only choice credit card companies have in order to make money is to find new ways to screw people. Really? Why is interest income not enough? Why do they need fee income? They don’t…they’re just greedy, having been accustomed to years of being largely unregulated and able to do whatever they wanted without consequence.

Because the credit card industry and Wall Street in general is so corrupt and so greedy, we need a strong watchdog to lead the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren is the best qualified person for that job, and if the Obama Administration allows Timothy Geithner and his cronies to place another industry sycophant in that position, then you can be sure that the agency will do nothing more than rubber stamp whatever fee scheme the credit card companies come up with next.

If you don’t want to be charged exorbitant fees, then I suggest you write to President Obama and to your senators and tell them you want Elizabeth Warren to head the CFPB.

Saving America’s Middle Class? Or Drowning It In Austerity?

Today’s post on Frugal Dad was written by a guest blogger pimping his own site, thedailymiddle.com, a site that claims to be about middle class survival during these hard times.

I read the post on Frugal Dad and I see that the author is using statistics gathered by Elizabeth Warren. Going to his site, he even has a category for her and he’s put up some of her videos. However, he takes her statistics and completely misinterprets them to continue to put forth the “overconsumption myth” which Warren has also gone to great lengths to debunk.

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Wall Street Is Circling The Wagons Against Elizabeth Warren as Head of Consumer Bureau

The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was an idea conceived Harvard Professor and long time advocate for the middle class, Elizabeth Warren.  Since the agency was her idea, and she is obviously the most qualified person to lead it, then her confirmation as its head should be a shoo-in.

That would be true in the real world, but in the Washington Beltway, what is up is down and what is wrong inevitably turns out to be right as long as enough lobbyist money is spent to woo political officials along the way.

Wall Street was extremely opposed  to the consumer financial protection bureau and  through their lobbying efforts, managed to get it moved within the Fed instead of outside it. Beyond that, they haven’t managed to weaken it any further, but appointing a Wall Street insider would ensure that the agency would have no teeth and be practically useless.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner,  a Wall Street insider if there ever was one, is quite opposed to Warren, who has dressed him down a time or two as he appeared before the Congressional Oversight Committee that she chairs. Where no one else would ask the tough questions, Elizabeth Warren did, and when the answers given were less than candid or complete, she poured on the heat.

 

 

 

Now we hear that Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee does not believe that there are sixty votes in the Senate to confirm Warren as director of the CFPB.  From the article:

I think Elizabeth would be a terrific nominee," Dodd told NPR’s Diane Rehm on Monday. "The question is, ‘Is she confirmable?’ And there’s a serious question about it.

Senator Dodd has taken a great deal of donations from the banking industry and while fighting for financial reform, he has also worked to weaken it at the behests of his donors. His remarks today are even more of an indication that Wall Street will fight tooth and nail to prevent Warren from heading the agency that was her brainchild.

Elizabeth Warren Predicted The Financial Collapse Back In 2004

 

Elizabeth Warren,  a Harvard Law Professor and the current chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Committee in charge of overseeing usage of the TARP bailout funds, predicted the financial collapse long before anyone else was talking about it.

In this 2004 interview with Dean Lawrence R. Velvel where she discusses her book, The Two Income Trap,  she reveals the instability that pervades the lives of most middle class Americans and why so many end up in Bankruptcy court. She says that in order to keep up with the expenses, people with median incomes have been forced to borrow and borrow. Why? Because the median income in the United States is increasingly not enough to keep up with the cost of living. She talks about the fixed expenses that families have, such as the mortgage payment, health insurance, and educational expenses as having grown dramatically in the last generation. It is important to understand, here, that, these fixed expenses can’t be cut back.  That’s why they’re called “fixed expenses.”

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HAMP Still Not Making The Grade: Geithner Refuses To Consider Alternatives

By almost every measure, the HAMP program continues to underperform in its effort to address the problem of mortgage foreclosures. Since its inception a year and half ago, only 340,000 homeowners have received permanent modifications and 436,000 have been dropped from the program. Last month alone, 155,000 homeowners were kicked out of trial modifications as opposed to only 30,000 who received new trial modifications. Accordingly, it appears the HAMP program is helping fewer and fewer homeowners as time goes on.

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Financial Reform Passes In Senate, Long Fight Remains Ahead

The financial reform bill has passed in the Senate, which includes the Consumer Finance Protection Agency, the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, head of the TARP Oversight Panel, Harvard law professor, and bankruptcy expert.

The fight is not over, however, and the financial services industry hasn’t stopped working hard to weaken the final bill.  Robert E. Story, Jr., Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association released a statement today that remains inline with previous statements:

Unless improvements are made during the Senate-House negotiations, this bill will likely bring regulations that will only further constrain credit for borrowers, make real estate purchases more expensive and drag out the ongoing turmoil in the real estate markets.

The financial services industry doesn’t like the reform bill one bit. They don’t like the fact that they face new rules that limit their ability to gouge consumers. The sad truth is they really don’t have much to fear, at least from the Senate version of the bill. While it does do some things that are good,  among them, the audit of the Fed, and the creation of the CFPA, it doesn’t reinstate the Glass-Stegall Act,  nor does it address “too big to fail.” You can bet that they’re going to fight to further weaken the CFPA, too, because after all, too much consumer protection is a BAD thing.

 

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Source image: http://pixton.com/comic/gl8jabmu

The Over-Consumption Myth Is Keeping Us From Enacting Meaningful Financial Services Reform

Despite the persistent rhetoric that people in financial trouble deserve to be there because they made poor choices and now must face the consequences of those choices, the real story behind why so many American families are riding the edge of financial devastation is not as simple as that.

As Elizabeth Warren explains in her paper entitled the Over-Consumption Myth,  the average middle class family carries more debt than it did a generation ago. However, this debt is not due to overspending on frivolous items such as designer clothes, designer foods, or big screen televisions.

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Warren Report Finds Administration’s Foreclosure Mitigation Efforts Still Lagging Behind

The Congressional Oversight Panel, headed by Elizabeth Warren released its report regarding the state of the foreclosure crisis and the Administration’s efforts to address it yesterday. The report concluded that while the Treasury had made significant efforts to improve foreclosure mitigation programs like HAMP, its efforts are still not keeping pace with the scope of the crisis.

It found that 2.8 million homeowners received foreclosure notices in 2009 alone and one in four mortgages are underwater, meaning the home’s value is less than the mortgage. As for modifications, there have been 168,708 permanent modifications completed as of February 2010. What this comes out to is that for every family who received a permanent modification, ten families lost their homes.

The panel commends Treasury for the improvements to the program done to date, including addressing foreclosures due to unemployment and the negative equity (underwater mortgages) situation. At the same time it urges Treasury to act more quickly, since it is clear that current efforts are coming too late to help the majority of distressed homeowners.

The panel also expressed concerns that by continuing to offer the servicers and lenders more incentives in bits and pieces, that Treasury may be encouraging them to delay modifications in the hopes that larger incentives will be available later.

So, basically, Warren and the COP have found that the Administration’s efforts to stem the foreclosure crisis have been too little and too late given the magnitude of the crisis. To underscore that, let me leave you with one more number out of that report: currently, there are 6 million homeowners who are 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgages.

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