For those who can't keep up with all the readings to which this blog links, but who want to learn more about the home foreclosure crisis, you can click on this link to the predatory lending page maintained by the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School and scroll down to find an excellent panel discussion that you can download to your computer and MP3 player. I've been listening to it while driving. The speakers include Jane Azia, Director of Consumer Protection, New York State Banking Department, Margaret Becker of the Predatory Lending and Foreclosure Prevention Project, Staten Island, New York Legal Services, Professor Ronald Mann of Columbia, and Tam Ormiston, Chief Deputy Attorney General of Iowa. The moderator is James Tierney, Director of the State Attorney General Program & former Attorney General of Maine.
But if you do want more reading about the crisis, click here for Times columnist Bob Herbert's moving column in today's paper about one family's loan tragedy. An excerpt:
One aspect of the so-called mortgage crisis that hasn’t been adequately explored is the extent to which predatory lenders have committed fraud against vulnerable homeowners. They have pushed overpriced loans and outlandish fees on hapless victims who didn’t understand — and could not possibly have met — the terms of the contracts they signed.
In some cases, corporate con artists have deliberately targeted and seized the equity of financially strapped and unsophisticated owners. In some cases, homes have been stolen outright.
This is an issue crying out for a thorough federal investigation.