Having fielded several comments relative to "Anatomy of a Foreclosure" an article that appeared in the Huffington Post last month, a follow-up article seemed in order. Those earlier observations clearly resonated with many readers. My description of how my foreclosure by America's resident banking interests has caused hardship and taken a toll resounds in the lives and experiences of many. This article chronicles updated events that have developed since that writing.
First, several responses were directed to me commiserating with the experience chronicled in that earlier writing. Citizens and families have encountered similar distress at the hands of the banks that hold various mortgages now in question of payment. Many American homes are now at risk of some level of foreclosure and federal government intervention on the behalf of those citizens is falling short of actually addressing their needs. This is all the more distressing in that the TARP funds, made so quickly available to banking institutions, essentially paid for bank debt and totally cushioned the banking industry's fall. Groups like Wachovia and Wells Fargo were protected from any negative fallout caused by derivatives and default swap "gambling" by principals in those same banking institutions.
Secondly, realizing that I was not alone, I reviewed my relationship with my lender. In the process I recognized that my many attempts to contact an appointed representative at my bank continued to fall on deaf ears. Not one response from Wells Fargo's President's office was recorded here on the home front. This was all the more distressing because utilizing my meager econometrics skills learned in graduate school, I'd offered a bank friendly reassessment. I suggested that the cost of foreclosure, the actual price and value of the property considered and the ancillary costs associated with foreclosure could be rolled into a diminished package that once renegotiated, should make for an adjustment that any reasonable business would find acceptable. We should remember that TARP has already paid Stumpf for the value of my loan and any lost revenues so he could have agreed to a one-dollar adjustment and still made money. No response to date to get back with me. My last verbal contact with anyone was months ago when a gatekeeper executive at Wachovia informed me "we are not interested in anything that you might offer at this time." Like the overflowing waters of Katrina in New Orleans, the banker's levies of narcissism have reached an all-time high.
Third, (though all cases are unique) my situation had to do with more than a residence being foreclosed upon. There was an historical component to the home in question. There was the concern of Americana and the American heritage of one of this nation's foundational contributing families. There were also associated elements having to do with the potential of children around the globe learning to read. But Stumpf and Company "were not interested" in even discussing how we might be able to amicably resolve this matter.
Fourth, and most important, what I had proposed would have been a wonderful template to save homes for families across the board. Not to assail President Obama in a time of tumult but his and Mr. Geithner's decision to give the public's money to banks that would in turn not make funds available to the public was folly. My numbers clearly show that the blanket paying off of every questionable mortgage beginning with the least encumbrance first, versus giving those funds to banks and automakers, would have done two things. It would have eliminated mortgages for every "at risk" residence owing less than $400,000.00, keeping families in homes. And it would have created the economic environment that would have maintained confidence so that people could still go out and buy the Chevrolet, if no longer a Chevy. We could have avoided entirely this bi-polar distributed Depression and any "jobless recovery" so associated.
Had the President also used the power of the POTUS' pen, he could have "collaterally encumbered" the banking system responsible for the loss of so much wealth. He thus could have established the equivalent of buying down those mortgages as a condition of any future infusion of the American people's funds in US banking. But he did not. Indeed after several recent criticisms of this administration, the Internal Revenue Service has informed me that any future Social Security benefits have been reduced by nearly twenty percent. Now I aint sayin!
Banks have not changed their Weltanschauung relative to the rape of the American family. They have not been "incentivized" to do so. Moreover, there seems to be a mean-spiritedness that accompanies their perspectives. They've been paid in full by the TARP. They are being paid again either by foreclosing on people's homes and reselling them or holding those properties until the market improves. I have not forgotten that they have no one that they must pay. And there are tax incentives that make these acts even more enticing. All the while, those same banks have not been held accountable for the millions of diminished 401Ks that are "leaking oil" as I write this. Banking policies have sunk the ship of state, destroyed youthful hopes of work and careers, obliterated savings and forced many aging Americans back into a workforce that has no room for them. Did I mention the angst that I have been forced to encounter everyday, unable to know what is occurring with my home? I feel like the Scheherazade of foreclosure ... just one more day!
Slavery was not eliminated in America in 1865. It merely changed its face. But this time, the whole planet has become captive to a few petulant miscreants with a plethora of MBAs and a dearth of conscious human dignity. Lobbyists have recently gutted serious attempts to rein in these forces. But my guess is that the smirking banking community hasn't heard the last from me. Me that is, and that welling base of so many others, now reeling and responding to the theft of their money and their children's futures.