I invite you to view a brand new 54-minute video (embedded below) titled “Mortgage Crisis in a Nutshell.” The presenter is John Campbell, a St. Louis attorney and educator. I work with John at the Simon Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri. We gained much of our experience in this area of law by litigating numerous suits for mortgage fraud on behalf of homeowners, both individual suits and class actions. Also on behalf of homeowners, we’ve defended many unlawful detainer suits (attempts to evict homeowners). We’ve both become passionate about this work as a result of witnessing firsthand that many homeowners have been victimized by unscrupulous and unrepentant banks.
In this 53-minute video John presents the main aspects of the mortgage crisis that has devastated the U.S. housing market and the economy. Our goal is empower all who seek to better understand what went wrong with the American mortgage system. As you will see when you click on the above link, this video can be watched in chapters:
I. The Big Picture and its Many Parts (:55)
II. Banks Flood the Market with Subprime Mortgages (3:54)
III. Banks, Securitize their Mortgages (10:05)
IV. Banks Cry for a Bailout (13:57)
V. Wall Street Malfeasance (16:54)
VI. Foreclosures, Robo-Signing, Trustees and Conflicts of Interest (18:20)
VII. MERS (“Mortgage Electronic Registration System) (33:45)
VIII. The Mortgage System Used to Work (43:42)
IX. Credits and Further Readings (52:43)
We created this video because we were frustrated by the fact that it is difficult to find websites and other materials describing the modern mortgage system in terms that are accessible to both lawyers and non-lawyers. As a result, many of our friends and acquaintances (those outside of the mortgage law community) don’t understand the inter-relationships among subprime loans, ratings of mortgage-backed securities, MERS, the bailout and robo-signing.
The failure to understand these things is making it easy for the entities that caused this crisis to conduct business as usual. Because this system is so difficult to understand, too many people think the crisis was entirely caused by “irresponsible borrowers.” The result is that our national dialogue is obsessed with the alleged need for less regulation instead of discussing how to change the system to make sure this never again happens.
We’ve used simple terms and basic drawings in order to make an opaque system understandable. Though it is undoubtedly slanted toward our perspective as attorneys who represent homeowners, we’ve worked hard to keep it factual and fair-minded.
We ask only one thing in return for the link to this video. To the extent that you find it helpful to your understanding of the mortgage crisis, please consider forwarding this link to anyone else you know who would benefit from viewing it. Our aim is to spread this video widely through email, list serves, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites other social media.
We certainly invite comments, both at DI and at YouTube. If this video works for you (or if it doesn’t), please let us know. Thank you.
Bob Sullivan is quickly becoming one of my heroes, based upon my reading of his new book: Stop Getting Ripped off: Why Consumers Get Screwed and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal (2009). Bob also offers a blog called the Red Tape Chronicles, where he reports on numerous consumer issues. It’s well worth your while.
I recently mentioned Bob’s book on a post focused on America’s profound case of Innumeracy.
I’m a bit deeper into the book now, and I am highly impressed with Sullivan’s ability to write clearly and persuasively with regard to consumer issues. I am also impressed with his ability to give an evenhanded account of many consumer issues. He doesn’t deny that consumer greed has played a role in modern-day screwing of American consumers. On the other hand, consumer greed is only part of the story. The other big part of the story is that our federal agencies that we have had set up to serve as watchdogs for Americans, are doing a pathetic job. Consider the case of Bernie Madoff. The securities and exchange commission (SEC) was presented with overwhelming evidence that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme way back in 1999. They did nothing about it. Sullivan as “if the SEC isn’t hunting down folks such as Madoff, do you really think it’s protecting you?”
According to law professor Brent T. White, many of the home owners who currently owe more on their mortgage than the house is worth should stop paying their mortgages and walk away from their houses:
[F]ar more of the estimated 15 million U.S. homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages should stiff their lenders and take a hike. Doing so, he suggests, could save some of them hundreds of thousands of dollars that they “have no reasonable prospect of recouping” in the years ahead. Plus the penalties are nowhere near as painful or long-lasting as they might assume, he says.
A middle-aged couple who bought a home in my neighborhood are in a terrible situation. They paid too much for their new house, which needed a lot of repairs, and they failed to aggressively work to sell their existing home. Therefore, they now have two houses.
They continue to live in their original home while their new house (two houses away from where I live) has been vacant for three years and it is falling apart. I’m not talking about chipped paint. There are huge holes in the roof that are causing the house to rot out.
Check out the garage roof too:
People who know a lot about rehabbing houses tell me that if this house and garage don’t get immediate attention, they will need to be completely torn down.
How did the “free market” fail us? How about this? It was a matter of dogma over evidence, a theme that connects the blots–the long string of massive failures caused by conservative Republicans over the past eight years. In an article called “White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire,” the NYT analyses the causes of the […]