Gretchen Morgenson’s column in the New York Times yesterday points out a connection we should all be making: the high-speed, no time to think or do things right mindset of the mortgage industry is to blame for a lot of the problems we’re facing today, and that same mindset seems to be controlling the actions of the Attorneys General right now. Tom Miller, the Iowa Attorney General leading the talks, told us just last week, “We’re going to move as fast as we can.”
Arguably, it’s beneficial to consumers to get new rules in place and take action as quickly as possible, but the reality is that many of the consumers who have been harmed lost their homes long ago, and its the banks that have the greatest incentive to rush things along–that is, to get this whole mess settled before too much information comes to light.
Remember that the attorneys general who are participating in this settlement process have been a coalition only since October. Two people who have been briefed on the discussions, but who asked for anonymity because the deal was not final, told me last week that no witnesses had been interviewed and that the coalition had sent out just one request for documents — and it has not yet been answered.
Why, after consumers have been victimized by these faulty and fraudulent procedures for years, after some Attorneys General have been collecting complaints for years, after they went to the trouble to form a coalition ostensibly to address the problem more thoroughly and efficiently, do the AGs now want to stop short of finding real answers and making sure the solution fits the history?