President Obama told the nation that he was committed to resolving the housing crisis and helping millions of families facing foreclosure. In his State of the Union address at the end of January 2012, he announced the formation of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, which would be charged with the responsibility of investigating mortgage fraud and providing relief to homeowners. While there is a pressing need for such an organization, there is also one problem. They haven't done anything.
Not only have they not done anything, they also have no dedicated website, address, or telephone number. Under the arm of the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the Group planned to have 30 employees within the first few weeks -- however, as of this date, the only names associated with the Group are the co-chairs: Lanny Breuer, Stuart Delery, Robert Khuzami, John Walsh, and Eric Schneiderman. While the president deemed that this group would "speed assistance" to homeowners, that assistance has thus far been exceedingly slow or non-existent.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) sent a letter to the Group, trying to learn more about their purpose. That letter asked for their goals and missions, anticipated staffing, funding and expenses, and in what ways the Group is different than the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
Maxine Waters wrote a letter on April 26, 2012, to the co-chairs of the RMBS Working Group. The letter, written to request the hiring of an executive director to facilitate the Group's efforts, stating that public confidence might be at risk if there is a failure to do so:
...we were dismayed by recent press reports indicating that the RMBS Working Group does not yet have phones, office headquarters, or an executive director ... we remain concerned that the Working Group has not independently established a robust infrastructure commensurate with the charge of investigating this component of the 2008 financial crisis.
A Google search brings up no further information about the Group, its purpose, staff, or what it has accomplished in its first three months, with the exception of a settlement that was announced on Feb. 9. Some question the existence of the Group, including HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who publicly claimed the formation of the Group as a "coup."
Questions remain and need to be answered. The Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group is the sixth group formed by the administration to address the foreclosure crisis and provide relief to homeowners. Unfortunately, this group, like the others, is not seeing the urgency of the matter -- that is, if they do, in fact, exist and are something more than a public relations announcement. As it appears, the new Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group is not working -- they don't even have a place to work from.
Anna Cuevas, known as "America's Loan Modification Guru," has guided thousands of Americans in keeping their homes from foreclosure. A popular blogger (askaloanmodguru.com), Cuevas has been called a "superhero of the loan modification industry" and has been nominated for CNN's Heroes. She is the #1 bestselling author of SAVE YOUR HOME Without Losing Your Mind or Money.
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