Finally, a Guilty Verdict for Wall Street
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of US News & World Report
Posted: October 29th, 2013
"The Hustle." That's the name of a program run by Countrywide, the slimy subprime lender purchased by Bank of America in 2008. Under the program, Countrywide brokers were paid bonuses to originate loans, firing them off to borrowers with less than stellar credit in an attempt to gin up quick profits. The loans were then sold to government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, where they often went sour. This sounds like a fairly typical tale from the financial crisis: Most of the nation's largest banks have, in one way or another, been accused of formulating sloppy loans and dumping them off on the taxpayer or of selling toxic mortgage securities to unwitting customers. But there's a new twist to the old story: Yesterday, a jury found Bank of America guilty of fraud, the first time that a major U.S. bank has been held responsible by a U.S. court for actions tied to the financial crisis. The jury also held a former Countrywide manager liable for fraud. That we're still wondering whether the banks will face any consequences for their actions more than five years after the financial crisis began in earnest is a pretty damning indictment of the Obama administration's approach to the matter. Can lawmakers summon the will to actually take on Wall Street or are a few good headlines from DOJ all we can hope for? The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was a good opening effort and, despite its imperfections, will make some difference in reining Wall Street. But there is still a lot that the law either left unaddressed or up to the interpretation of regulators who are bombarded by missives from Wall Street lobbyists.
Note: For more on the collusion of big banks and banking regulators, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.