And we've been paying the price ever since.
Today, in a speech to the Mortgage Bankers Association summit on loan servicing, Sheila Bair, obviously auditioning for her post-July job as the head of a consumer advocacy group (or keeping Liz Warren's seat warm at Harvard), called for the creation of a BP-like "foreclosure claims commission" to award compensation to the billions (no, make that bazillions)of homeowners who've been screwed in some form or fashion during the loan modification and/or foreclosure processby large loan servicers. The claims would be funded by the loan servicers, as British Petroleum funded its claims fund (after some purported arm-twisting by the White House) in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.
While we understand the rage generated by the well-publicized bobbles, bungles, fumbles, muck-ups and outright FUBARs of the large loan servicers (especially they're utter disdain for the rights of parrots), we pose a simple question: what's championing a "claims commission" got to do with the job description of the Chairman of the FDIC?
[sound of crickets chirping]
That's what we thought, but we just HAD to ask.
According to CNCB's Diana Olick, Ms. Bair's proposal went over with her audience "like a lead balloon." She's not afraid to go into the lion's den, as she's done many times before, and offend her audience, is she? Some see that as evidence of her courage and integrity. Others see it as a shrewed tactic to generate the most controversy and, therefore, the most publicity. Of course, when bankers pay their FDIC insurance assessments, they always take comfort in knowing that the head of the FDIC that's spending their money may not be the greatest administrator they've ever seen, but she sure as heck is one fantabulous speechifier.
Assuming the claims commission idea catches fire (and doesn't burn the house down), I had a parttner with a national law firm (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) suggest to me this afternoon the perfect person to head up the commission: Oprah Winfrey.
Think about it. You get all the disgruntled homeowners in the Rose Bowl. You provide them free beer and give them an inappropriate amount of time to get liquored up. Then, in sky-dives a parachutist who hits the 50-yard line, bounces up, unbuckles her harness, takes off her helmet, reveals herself to be "The Big O" and screams "You're all going to Cabo!!! With Angelina and Brad!!!"
Pitt and Jolie rise on a platform from a hidden trapdoor under the turf, dressed in sombreros and serapes, and waving and smiling as only those who have been chosen by "The One" can muster. The stunned foreclosure-screwees leap to their feet and start jumping and screaming like ten year-old females in the presence of a boy named Beiber.
"Look under your seats and reach into the mysterious black pouch," Oprah yells and the crowd scrambles to pull out and open the drawstrings on the pouches which have hitherto remained undetected. "That's right, they're car keys...to a brand, new Farrari California convertible! You're all driving one home!!!"
But "The Comish" is not quite finished.
"Now, what would you want with a fine Ferrari if you couldn't park it in the four-car garage of your very own, fully paid-for, debt-free, 6,000 square foot, McMansion!!!!!!"
On the Jumbotron flash pictures of the dream home of every buyer that bought "a house too far" and never had the scratch to actually pay for it. Now, through the miraculous ministrations of "The Care Bair" and "Deepak Oprah," their oh-so-all-American dreams have come true. There all "being made whole."
Yeah, I think this claims commission thing has legs.
I wonder if there's any way we can get Maxine Waters to play a role in it?