Mortgage settlement is a bank bailout
Mortgage settlement is a bank bailout

Several posts on Naked Capitalism highlighting another possible transfers of wealth from the people to financial vested interest:

Schneiderman MERS Suit and HUD’s Donovan Remarks Confirm That Mortgage “Settlement” is a Stealth Bank Bailout

In case you had any doubts about what the mortgage settlement was really about and why banks that were so keenly opposed to it are now willing to go ahead, the news of the last two days should settle any doubts.

As we had indicated earlier, one of the many leaks about the settlement showed that there had been a major shift its parameters. Of the $25 billion that has been bandied about as a settlement total for the biggest banks, comparatively little (less than $5 billion) is in cash. The rest comes in the form of credits for principal modifications of mortgages.

Originally, that was to come only from mortgages held by banks, meaning they would bear the costs. The fact that this meant that whether a homeowner might benefit would be random (were you one of the lucky ones whose mortgage had not been securitized?) was apparently used as an excuse to morph the deal into a huge win for them: allowing the banks to get credit for modifying mortgages that they don’t own.

The first rule of finance (well, maybe second, “fees are not negotiable” might be number one) is always use other people’s money before your own. So giving the banks permission to modify loans they don’t own guarantees that that is where the overwhelming majority of mortgage modifications will take place, ex those the banks would have done anyhow on their own loans. And the design of the program, that securitized loans will be given only half the credit towards the total, versus 100% for loans the banks own, merely assures that even more damage will be done to investors to pay for the servicers’ misdeeds.

Let me stress: this is a huge bailout for the banks. The settlement amounts to a transfer from retirement accounts (pension funds, 401 (k)s) and insurers to the banks. And without this subsidy, the biggest banks would be in serious trouble.

Also here and here.

Read the entirety of the posts over at Naked Capitalism. It’s been all over the rampant crony capitalism that is America today. People should be getting locked up en mass. Not enriched at public expense.