Lately, bad news for the banking industry has meant good news for the public — especially for the millions of people who continue to suffer through the housing crisis. So today was a good day.
This morning, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a massive lawsuit against Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo regarding their fraudulent use of robosigning and the electronic mortgage registry known as “MERS.” While the suit is specific to New York, it could spark other states to take similar action. According to the press release:
Once the mortgages went sour, these same banks brought foreclosure proceedings en masse based on deceptive and fraudulent court submissions, seeking to take homes away from people with little regard for basic legal requirements or the rule of law,” said NY Attorney General Schneiderman. “Our action demonstrates that there is one set of rules for all — no matter how big or powerful the institution may be — and that those rules will be enforced vigorously. Only through real accountability for the illegal and deceptive conduct in the foreclosure crisis will there be justice for New York’s homeowners.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration of criminal wrongdoing from the banks, a stop to some additional foreclosures, damages for harmed homeowners, and additional penalties. The lawsuit also seeks a court order requiring defendants to take all actions necessary to cure any title defects and clear any improper liens resulting from their fraudulent and deceptive acts and practices.
For the ColorOfChange community, this is another important step toward a full investigation, accountability, and relief for the millions of people hurt during this crisis. We know that the banks disproportionately targeted Black folks and communities of color with toxic loans and ballooning interest rates, and engaged in systemic predatory lending and mortgage fraud. Ensuring that the banks pay for the enormous harm and devastation they've created will take continued involvement from ColorOfChange members.
We'll keep monitoring progress and make sure that the tens of thousands of ColorOfChange members who have spoken up will continue to be a loud voice for justice and real relief.