There is no singular public official who bears the entire burden for failure to prosecute banks during the foreclosure crisis. However, many of them do have some responsibility, considering some 9.3 million American families lost their homes during the late Bush and most of the Obama years, just before, during and after the housing market crashed.
There was a perfect storm of wrongdoing by lenders, brokers and others – including inflated appraisals, falsified underwriting and improper placement into subprime loans, which all led to misconduct and fraud in loan servicing, securitization, foreclosures and loan modification. Millions of phony documents were used as evidence to secure eviction. In other words, there was unlawful fraud going on in every step of the process. And despite this, there was very little accountability by those in power which, at the time, were mostly Democrats.
Case-in-point, as noted recently by The New Republic, is Kamala Harris. As the previous attorney general (now serving as a U.S. senator), Harris overrode a recommendation from state prosecutors to pursue civil enforcement action against OneWest Bank, a company under the direction of now-treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, accused of repeatedly violating state foreclosure laws. Harris declined to provide a reason for this, and it has caused many even on the left to view her with great skepticism. Continue reading