Last time I showed how the credit bond policies are being used to deliberately set the public sector up for losses of public assets with the coming economic crash. Obama and Clinton neo-liberals did this for the same reasons Bush and neo-cons set up the housing industry for collapse with the subprime mortgage loan fraud. In both cases it is deliberate, willful public malfeasance on the part of our elected officials and it is done with malice.
THIS IS ALL THAT IS NECESSARY FOR FILLING IN COURT CLAIMS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. MARYLAND ASSEMBLY WITH THE GOVERNOR ARE WORKING WITH BALTIMORE CITY HALL AND THE MAYOR TO FLEECE THE PUBLIC.
I have blogged about HARP mortgage program before-----showing that HARP legislation was passed in 2009 as a way to help main street but was not even really implemented until 2012 after most Americans who were underwater had gone into foreclosure. This was the period where the FED policies of QE lowered the housing interest rate so those tens of millions of houses heading into foreclosure could be bundled and sold just as toxic subprime mortgage loans were-----to investment firms by bulk. The people creating the subprime mortgage fraud that took a record number of working and middle-class homes-----ergo their retirement investments----super-sized their profits in this foreclosure re-bundling policy ----policy written and passed by neo-liberals acting just as the neo-cons. Luckily, as the article below states only a few million homeowners fell into this real estate trap as HARP is now advertised on TV ads just as subprime mortgage loans were in 2006 and 2007 -----just before the 2008 crash. Get these HARP loans with almost no restrictions! Just before this coming economic crash in 2015. Look, the program ends in 2015 because------the FED's ending of QE will make interest rates climb very high making these policies moot. So, the policies are geared towards setting up the American people to lose wealth and to send that wealth to Wall Street just as the credit bond financial instrument and our public schools.
Let's look at the HARP fraud----and it is fraud-----when the government conspires to place citizens in harm's way-----
The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is down to its last two years. U.S. homeowners have until December 31, 2015 to use the popular "Obama Refi".
However, rising home value may render HARP's last quarters moot.
Underwater mortgages are less essential to U.S. housing as compared to when HARP launched last decade. Despite current mortgage rates making their best levels in nearly six months, U.S. homeowners are requesting fewer "high-LTV" loans and, in many states, the median LTV request is dropping.
Unless HARP 3 passes in 2014, there will likely be fewer HARP closings nationwide.
HARP : Refinance Without Mortgage Insurance The Home Affordable Refinance Program was first announced in February 2009 as part of that year's economic stimulus.
The economy had just emerged from its largest financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. Some major financial institutions had failed (e.g.; Lehman Brothers); some had been forced to merge (e.g.; Merrill Lynch); and, others were required to seek federal aid from the government (e.g.; AIG).
There was little confidence among U.S. investors. Stock markets sank, falling 54% before finally bottoming out March 6, 2009. Home values fell, too, as a sudden over-supply of homes combined with a dearth of qualified buyers to send prices spiraling downward.
Meanwhile, as all of this was happening, mortgage markets were entering what we now know to be the biggest Refinance Boom of all-time. For the first time in history, mortgage rates had dropped below 5 percent as investors sought "safe" assets.
Unfortunately, few homeowners were eligible to claim such low rates.
The sinking housing market reduced the respective home equity U.S. homeowners held so mortgage applicants typically found themselves applying for loans for which the loan-to-value exceeded 80%.
LTVs over 80% required private mortgage insurance (PMI), for which the cost offset the savings of refinancing to a low rate.
That is, until HARP.
When the government launched the Home Affordable Refinance Program, it included a clause which allowed homeowners to refinance without incurring new PMI. Homeowners whom had initially made a 20% downpayment, but had since lost that equity, could refinance without have to pay PMI, irrespective of their current loan-to-value.
Similarly, homeowners who initially had made a 10% downpayment but now found themselves owing more than their home was worth, would be able to refinance without an increase to their existing PMI coverage.
HARP reached 1 million households between 2009-2011. Then, in early-2012, the government the loosened the Home Affordable Refinance Program to expand its reach.
Dubbed HARP 2.0, the second iteration made HARP refinancing simpler and faster. An additional 1 million HARP loans closed in 2012 and close to another one million closed in 2013.
However, the pace of HARP closings is slowing and, as home values continue to climb, the Home Affordable Refinance Program may run its course naturally. By the end of 2015, the HARP program may no longer be needed at all.
Short of Mel Watt passing HARP 3.0, the Home Affordable Refinance Program may be on its way out.
Are You Eligible For HARP? Since 2009, the Home Affordable Refinance Program has been a boon for underwater homeowners. The typical HARP homeowner saves 25% on average via a HARP refinance. How much would you save with HARP?
Checked your mortgage online, and get started with rate quote. See how much money you can save with a refinance before your home values rise too high to take advantage.
When politicians place the same industry in charge of a supposed main street bailout that created massive fraud and stole trillions of dollars through the the mortgage industry----you can bet those politicians are working against the American people. That is indeed what both Bush and now Obama are doing-----setting the public up to be fleeced. They do that not because they are Democrats or Republicans----they do that because they are Wall Street global corporate pols.
As you see below-----the relaxation of requirements in 2012 mirrors Bush's relaxation of terms in the subprime mortgage fraud.....and in 2014 the warnings are WATCH FOR BAD CHARACTERS PUSHING HARP-----just as was the warnings for subprime mortgage loans in 2006-2007. Wall Street and their pols are pretending that nothing saying the public cannot be duped by 'greedy' bankers but that is not true----public officials are not allowed to pass laws with the intent to do just that. As with the credit bond deals with our public school building----written just so the default will send those public schools and property to the investors tied to them----these policies written for subprime mortgage loans and now HARP are written just to catch people into deals that these pols know will harm them AND THAT IS PUBLIC MALFEASANCE AND FRAUD.
Obama HARP Refinance 2014
November 18, 2014
What sort of things have you heard about Obama HARP Refinance 2014? Do you hear rumors about how it can fix your debt overnight? Or did you hear that it is all a scam? If you want honest, reliable answers about Obama HARP Refinance 2014, this article will spell it all out for you.It is important that you read the fine print of any Obama HARP Refinance 2014 loan before agreeing to it. For instance, let’s say you get a home equity loan. Should you default on this loan, your lender can take your home from you. Prevent this from occurring by reading the fine print.
If you’re trying to pay down your debt, try borrowing a bit from your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement account. Be careful with this, though. While you’re able to borrow from your retirement plan for low interest, failing to pay it back as you agreed, losing your job, or being unable to pay it all back, the loan will be considered dismemberment. Your taxes and penalties will then be assessed as for why funds were withdrawn early.
Have a clear payoff goal in mind. Rushing to get the lowest interest rate is not the best and only way to pay off your debts quickly. Consider how you can pay off your monthly debts in approximately 3 to 5 years. This helps you get out of debt and raises your credit score.
Before going with any specific Obama HARP Refinance 2014 company, check their records with the Better Business Bureau. There are a lot of sketchy “opportunities” in the Obama HARP Refinance 2014 business. It’s easy to go down the wrong path if you aren’t careful. The BBB and its reports can help you weed out the bad from the good. As you can see by reading this article, there is a lot to know about Obama HARP Refinance 2014. Without doing your research, it can be a great burden to you. The above article provided you with helpful Obama HARP Refinance 2014 information. Be sure to use this advice as your guide when dealing with this venture.
Let's look back to an article from 2010 when we were in the midst of all this foreclosure action. You can see that the original HARP was doing almost nothing as it was written as an interest reduction plan and not a principal reduction plan. Remember, banks were guilty of trillions of dollars in financial frauds that could have easily been recovered in part by writing down the principles of these mortgages. THAT IS WHAT RULE OF LAW WOULD HAVE DONE. It's like FDR placing a 90% tax on corporations because they were guilty of the same frauds that brought the US the Great Depression. Because the American people allow global corporate pols to control politics----we are stuck with pols only continuing to fleece the American people.
Foreclosures -- an American tragedy
Published 3:39 pm, Wednesday, January 27, 2010 By Bob and Judy Mori
Last week it was reported that 2.8 million homes were lost to foreclosure in 2009. This brings such actions to over 5 million homes that had previously been lost to foreclosure since 2007. Over the next five years there are forecasts that this number could grow to over 15 million homes. This is an American tragedy that in our opinion is of epic proportions.
Back in 2007 when this problem started to exponentially grow, most of the foreclosures were the result of sub-prime loans, interest-only loans and option adjustable-rate-mortgage loans that became too expensive for the homeowner when the interest rate was reset. Today that is not necessarily the case. A prime reason homeowners are losing their homes today is because of our economy in which people, through no fault of their own, are losing their jobs and cannot find new ones. The reported unemployment today is at 10 percent, but the real unemployment is around 17 percent when you include those who have given up trying to find a job or have had their unemployment benefits come to an end. The December reported unemployment for Connecticut is 8.9 percent, up from 8.2 percent in November. On Jan. 22, the government announced that unemployment rose last month in 43 states, including Connecticut.
To date, the major response that has come from Washington has been the Home Affordable Modification Program. The goal of this program is that by the end of 2012, it will have helped up to 9 million homeowners keep their homes by reducing their monthly mortgage payments primarily by lowering their loan's interest rate. This initiative calls for homeowners to first be enrolled in a three-month trial modification program in which they have to demonstrate that they can stay current with their reduced mortgage payments. If they succeed, they then get a permanent reduction.
The results of HAMP to date are abysmal. As of Dec. 31, only 853,700 have been enrolled in the trial modification program and of these, only 66,465, or 7.7 percent, have qualified for the permanent reduction. And already a significant number of the 66,465 homeowners have started to default on their reduced mortgage payments.
When you read the stories about foreclosures, they almost always talk only about the number of homes being foreclosed on. As Realtors, we are in these homes on a continual basis. And, what we see are not just homes that have been foreclosed on, but families and individuals who have been displaced from what for most is their most cherished possession, their home.
Something needs to be done to stop this tremendous toll that families and individuals have to bear. Possibly the only real solution will be a program to reduce loan principals, not just interest rates. We know that some will say, "Why should I pay taxes so that someone else's loan principal can be reduced?" To those people we say, "You are already paying a price for foreclosures." In 2009 the median sale price of a single-family detached home selling in Fairfield County was $430,000, down 14.0 percent from the median sale price of $500,000 in 2008, which in turn was down 10.3 percent from the median sale price of $557,540 in 2007. For New Haven County, the numbers are $225,000 in 2009, down 11.8 percent from $255,000 in 2008, which in turn was down 7.3 percent from $275,000 in 2007.
One of the prime components of these price drops is foreclosures. Over the past three years, foreclosures have occurred and are continuing to occur in every town in both counties. Local foreclosures negatively impact the value of every home in the town. So yes, we are already paying for foreclosures with the decrease in the value of our homes. Getting rid of local foreclosures would be one of the instrumental factors in returning the equity we have lost to our homes.
However, what really needs to be done is that the unemployed need to be able to find new jobs. Without employment, no bills, including mortgages, get paid. Mortgages not being paid lead to foreclosures.
In 1992, Bill Clinton rode into the White House on the slogan, "It's the economy, stupid." This caught the attention of the media, of everyday Americans and of the politicians in Washington. Suddenly everyone focused on the economy and as a result we entered in a period of almost historic economic growth for the country.
It seems to us that this is the approach that is needed now. Someone with standing and whose voice will be heard and listened to needs to come forth with "It's all about jobs, stupid."
This issue needs to dominate our attention. Politicians in Washington and business and banking leaders need to fully realize the daily joy they experience of being able to go home every night to the same house they went home to last night. For the nearly 11,000 families and individuals who lose their homes on a daily basis to foreclosure, they cannot go home to that same house tonight, and tomorrow their children cannot go to the same neighborhood school because they no longer live in the neighborhood.
From the numbers above, one can calculate that for every permanent loan modification last year, 43 families or individuals lost their home to foreclosure. Don't these numbers seem backwards to you? They certainly do to us.
Foreclosures are an American tragedy and it needs the full attention and awareness of all of us to get it fixed. Yes, "It's all about jobs, stupid."
Bob and Judy Mori are Realtors. They live in Trumbull.
HARP was never about helping main street----it was always about finding yet another way to move taxpayer money to Wall Street via yet another financial policy that pretended to help the struggling working and middle-class homeowners that were left. Remember, tens of millions of home were lost to foreclosure during the 2008-2011 period ----and it is very likely these few million tying their homes to these HARP deals will lose their homes after the coming economic crash----which is the goal. Again, the American people are not being negligent or greedy in making what are ordinary financial arrangements-----they are doing what has always been sound financial investment. They simply did not know the 2008 crash would take the normal financial environment away as will the 2015 crash and they did not know that Bush neo-cons and Clinton neo-liberals were passing policy designed to deliberately place citizens into these positions.
So, while the FED created QE to remove toxic subprime mortgages to recapitalize banks by moving bad debt from these banks to the FED-----while this activity lowered housing interest rates to a new low just as those tens of millions of foreclosed houses were being bundled and sold by investment corporations----
NONE OF THIS HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH BUILDING A STABLE ECONOMY-----IT IS WHAT CREATED THIS COMING CRASH.
STOP ALLOWING GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS CONTROL OUR POLITICAL PARTIES----GET RID OF THESE INCUMBENTS. ALL OF MARYLAND POLS ARE GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS!
Obama's HARP Is Music to Bankers' Ears
BY Shanthi Bharatwaj | 03/30/12 - 06:11 AM EDT NEW YORK (TheStreet) --
For once, banks with exposure to mortgages can actually look forward to some earnings upside.
Nomura analyst Brian Foran expects the latest version of the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program -- dubbed HARP 2.0 -- to offer a major revenue tailwind to banks in the mortgage origination business , much bigger than the market is currently anticipating.
Refinancing volume is likely to rise with HARP now accounting for 20% to 40% of bank applications. Banks also stand to benefit from gain on sale of HARP loans, which command a stronger premium in the market.
In all, HARP could offer as much as $12 billion in mortgage banking revenue upside to the industry, according to Nomura, offsetting the negative impact of lower interest rates on interest income.
In October last year, the government revised guidelines to the HARP program. Borrowers with loans backed by Fannie Mae (FNMA)and Freddie Mac (FMCC) with a current loan-to-value ratio of 80% and above can get their loans refinanced, widening access to underwater borrowers who owe substantially more than their homes were worth.
In the previous version, the program had a ceiling on the loan-to-value ratio at 125%.
The loan must have been sold before May 2009, the borrower must be current on their mortgage and must have made no late payments in the past six months.
Banks have reported a pickup in activity since the launch of the program, although the real surge in refinancing has kicked in only in March, when the industry moved to automated underwriting on these loans. HARP is particularly active in states where there are significant number of homes underwater including Arizona, Nevada and Florida. Refi volumes in these states are up 61%, 71% and 49% respectively in February over January, according to the report.
Foran believes that the latest version of HARP could target as much as 1.5 million home loans in a base case scenario or even 2 million in a high case and that the government's estimate of 1 million loans might be conservative.
People who read the financial journals know the coming economic crash will not only be as deep as a Great Depression but interest rates will go sky high because the FED can know long manipulate the figures and what was already high inflation will grow higher. So, as this article states-----the value of homes will once again fall and sales of homes stagnate----just as this crash creates another round of higher unemployment. Those people tied to HARP will be the first to go-----and those middle/working class people with homes as retirement investments will see that value disappear further.
Remember, we never really recovered from the last crash----they just pretend we have so this coming crash will really take the US economy down. Moving real estate back into the hands of these wealthy investment firms is key to moving the nation to third world status and each economic crash takes more of the American people's wealth.
THESE CRASHES ARE ALL DESIGNED TO DO JUST THIS----THANKS TO CLINTON GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS AND BUSH GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-CONS.
Again, this is not just an Obama failure-----it is the American people who allow these Bush and Clinton Wall Street pols to control the political parties. Who supports Clinton neo-liberals every election? National labor and justice organizations.
WE CAN REVERSE THIS IF WE REPLACE OUR NATIONAL LABOR AND JUSTICE LEADERSHIP WITH PEOPLE NOT TIED TO GREED!
Why Another Great Real Estate Crash Is Coming
By Michael Snyder, on August 1st, 2013
There are very few segments of the U.S. economy that are more heavily affected by interest rates than the real estate market is. When mortgage rates reached all-time low levels late last year, it fueled a little “mini-bubble” in housing which was greatly celebrated by the mainstream media. Unfortunately, the tide is now turning. Interest rates are starting to move up steadily, even though the Federal Reserve has been trying very hard to keep that from happening. A few weeks ago, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the Fed may start to “taper” the rate of quantitative easing eventually, the bond market had a conniption and the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries shot up dramatically. In an attempt to calm the market, the Fed stopped all talk of a “taper” and that helped settle things down for a brief period of time. But now the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is starting to rise aggressively again. Today it closed at 2.71 percent, and many analysts believe that it will go much higher. This is important for the housing market, because mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries. And if mortgage rates keep rising like this, another great real estate crash is inevitable.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that he could use quantitative easing to control long-term interest rates. He assured us that he could force mortgage rates down for an extended period of time and that this would lead to a housing recovery.
But now the Fed is losing control of long-term interest rates. If this continues, either the Federal Reserve will have to substantially increase the rate of quantitative easing or else watch mortgage rates rise to absolutely crippling levels.
Three months ago, the average rate on a 30 year mortgage was 3.35 percent. It has shot up more than a full point since then…
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average on the 30-year loan rose to 4.39% from 4.31% last week. Rates are a full percentage point higher than in early May.
And as the chart below shows, mortgage rates have a lot more room to go up…
As mortgage rates go up, so do monthly payments.
And monthly payments are already beginning to soar. Just check out this chart.
So what happens if mortgage rates eventually return to “normal” levels?
Well, it would be absolutely devastating to the housing market. As mortgage rates rise, less people will be able to afford to buy homes at current prices. This will force home prices down.
To a large degree, whether or not someone can afford to buy a particular home is determined by interest rates. The following numbers come from one of my previous articles…
A year ago, the 30 year rate was sitting at 3.66 percent. The monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $1374.07.
If the 30 year rate rises to 8 percent, the monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $2201.29.
Does 8 percent sound crazy to you?
It shouldn’t. 8 percent was considered to be normal back in the year 2000.
And we are already seeing rising rates impact the market. The number of mortgage applications has fallen for 11 of the past 12 weeks, and this has been the biggest 3 month decline in mortgage applications that we have witnessed since 2009.
Rising interest rates will also have a dramatic impact on other areas of the real estate industry as well. For example, public construction spending is now the lowest that it has been since 2006.
And I find the chart posted below particularly interesting. As a Christian, I am saddened that construction spending by religious institutions has dropped to a stunningly low level…
So what does all of this mean?
Well, unless interest rates reverse course it appears that we are in the very early stages of another great real estate crash.
Only this time, it might not be so easy for the big banks to swoop in and foreclose on everyone. Just check out the radical step that one city in California is taking to stop bank foreclosures…
Richmond is the first city in the country to take the controversial step of threatening to use eminent domain, the power to take private property for public use. But other cities have also explored the idea.
Banks, the real estate industry and Wall Street are vehemently opposed to the idea, calling it “unconstitutional” and a violation or property rights, and something that will likely cause a flurry of lawsuits.
Richmond has partnered with San Francisco-based Mortgage Resolution Partners on the plan. Letters have been sent to 32 servicers and trustees who hold the underwater loans. If they refuse the city’s offer, officials will condemn and seize the mortgages, then help homeowners to refinance.
If more communities around the nation start using eminent domain to stop foreclosures, that is going to change the cost of doing business for mortgage lenders and it is likely going to mean more expensive mortgages for all the rest of us.
In any event, all of this talk about a “bright future” for real estate is just a bunch of nonsense.
You can’t buy a home if you don’t have a good job. And as I wrote about the other day, there are about 6 million less full-time jobs in America today than there was back in 2007.
You can’t get blood out of a stone, and you can’t buy a house on a part-time income. The lack of breadwinner jobs is one of the primary reasons why the homeownership rate in the United States is now at its lowest level in nearly 18 years.
And we aren’t going to produce good jobs if our economy is not growing. And economic growth in the U.S. has been anemic at best, even if you believe the official numbers.
We were originally told that the GDP growth number for the first quarter of 2013 was 2.4 percent. Then it was revised down to 1.8 percent. Now it has been revised down to 1.1 percent.
So precisely what are we supposed to believe?
Overall, since Barack Obama has been president the average yearly rate of growth for the U.S. economy has been just over 1 percent.
That isn’t very good at all.
But remember, the government numbers have been heavily manipulated to look good.
The reality is even worse.
According to the alternate GDP numbers compiled by John Williams of shadowstats.com, the U.S. economy has continually been in a recession since 2005.
And now interest rates are rising rapidly, and that is very bad news for the U.S. economy.
I hope that you have your seatbelts buckled up tight, because it is going to be a bumpy ride.
Tens of millions of homes were lost to the American people since the crash of 2008 from subprime mortgage loan fraud and as we all know----there has been no justice in the trillions stolen by banks through these frauds. We are getting ready for the next economic crash----this time it is Obama's HARP that replaces Bush's subprime mortgage fraud that will take yet more American homeowners down. I always shout that our national labor and justice leaders are captured by these Clinton Wall Street neo-liberals working with Bush neo-cons to fleece labor and justice----and this article shows one reason why the organizations that should be shouting FOUL are actually teamed with the worst of banking institutions.
Banks like Wells Fargo-----known to be the worst in targeting people of color with fraudulent loans were allowed to 'donate' to groups like NAACP for 'financial counseling' while the people actually victims of fraud received nothing. Fast forward to today----HARP is tying homeowners to the same kinds of mortgage instruments that will cause homeowners to lose their homes in this coming economic crash. THE SAME BANKING INSTITUTIONS ARE BEHIND HARP AS WERE BEHIND SUBPRIME MORTGAGE LOANS. A DEMOCRAT WOULD NOT ALLOW THESE POLICIES AND WOULD BE SHOUTING FOUL! GET RID OF GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS.
Why the NAACP should get off the Wells Fargo bandwagon
Opinion by Dr. Boyce Watkins | April 30, 2010 at 7:01 PM
According to the Federal Reserve, African-Americans were three times more likely to receive higher priced loan products than non-Hispanic whites in 2005 and 2006. More than half of the high-priced loans issued to African-Americans during 2006 are now at risk of foreclosure, being over 60 days past due. Black home ownership, which had seen dramatic gains in the early part of the decade, hit a sharp decline as a result of the foreclosure crisis. We have started to move backward.
One of the alleged culprits in this multi-billion dollar scandal is a company called Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has been sued by state and local governments around the nation for allegedly engaging in massive amounts of predatory lending, which has devastated black and brown communities everywhere. Terrible bank loans, combined with widespread unemployment in the black community, have served to destroy hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth in a matter of months.
You can imagine my shock when I learned that Wells Fargo, the company accused of squashing the financial security of millions of African-Americans, is now listed as one of the title sponsors of the NAACP’s annual convention this July.
Not only is such a partnership unacceptable on the surface, there are quite a few reasons for many of us to be skeptical of an organization (the NAACP) that drops a lawsuit against a company and soon after has the company appearing as a major donor. Not a good look for the NAACP, a group that is already accused of having sold itself to corporate America, arguably becoming socially impotent in the process.
When blogger Faye Anderson brought the Wells Fargo sponsorship to my attention, I didn’t automatically buy into the hype. I didn’t and do not want to believe that the NAACP would sell itself to a company accused of being one of the greatest vultures in the African-American community since the advent of slavery. I don’t know Ben Jealous personally (we’ve only crossed paths), and it’s not that I am important enough for the NAACP to acknowledge (I’m just a lowly professor with a big mouth), but I remain hopeful that they can provide a thorough explanation for what might turn out to be quite an embarrassing debacle. Black people deserve a chance to know what in the heck is going on.
Partnering with Wells Fargo is not a problem in itself, since it may be the case that the company is working with the NAACP to improve its way of doing business. That’s a good idea, but the question becomes whether the suspicious bank needs to make right with the NAACP, or instead find redemption with the millions of African-Americans who lost their homes. Another star-studded gala or extravagant NAACP Awards show does nothing for those who’ve become homeless or bankrupt because of the predatory lending practices allegedly committed by Wells Fargo. That’s like a child molester hurting 200 kids in the neighborhood and then being granted sainthood by the local priest. The NAACP’s fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of the black community must play a role in the nature and transparency of the Wells Fargo settlement. They can’t get around this fact.
I am not standing with the Tavis Smiley campers who want to attack NAACP President Ben Jealous — or anyone who participated in the meeting with President Obama last month. There are some who stand to cast instant judgment on the nature of this partnership, presuming the very worst at first glance. I believe this is wrong.
But the NAACP must do the following in order to make things right with this deal they’ve made with Wells Fargo:
1) The NAACP needs to give us all a thorough explanation: I’m not talking about a vague statement regarding how you’re going to work with Wells Fargo to ensure that they engage in fair lending practices. Yea, yea, yea. That sounds as watered down as the words of a wealthy third-world dictator who allows Exxon Mobile to extract all of the nation’s resources. There must be specifics on exactly what Wells Fargo is going to do for the black community, since this partnership with the NAACP gives the company the right to brag to its shareholders, the court of law and the general public about how they are such a wonderful friend to the African-American community. Wells Fargo is certainly no friend of mine, nor are they a friend to my grandfather, who lost his home after 40 years due to predatory lending. Thus far, Wells Fargo has only stated in the New York Times that it does not have any immediate plans to change its lending practices. Does this imply that the company feels that it’s done enough already?
2) Full disclosure of the NAACP and Wells Fargo’s financial relationship is an absolute must, and Wells Fargo needs to cough up some of their ill-gotten gains from the black community. By stoically refusing to share financial details of their deal with Wells Fargo, the NAACP is giving itself a terrible look. The amount of the NAACP sponsorship by Wells Fargo should be disclosed, as well as all logic relating to how the deal came to be in the first place. It may also make sense to create some institutional infrastructure to help people restructure their Wells Fargo loans, or receive loans that they need in order to fund small businesses. Wells Fargo needs to put its money where the NAACP’s mouth is; a small donation to the organization simply will not do.
As a Finance Professor, the reason I wrote the book, Black American Money was to explain that it is almost impossible to fight against oppression while taking money from entities that are owned and run by those who are doing the most harm to your constituents. If a woman is being beaten by her husband but continues to remain financially dependent on the man who is abusing her, she undermines her ability to either leave the marriage or demand the respect she deserves. By taking money from the highest bidder without seriously considering what the donor is demanding in return, the NAACP opens itself up to accusations of corruption and ineffectiveness in our community. The fox should not be given access to the chicken coop, no matter how many gifts he bears. Some people should never be allowed to buy your friendship.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the initiator of the National Conversation on Race. For more information, please visit BoyceWatkins.com>