Tag Archives: Housing

Nominating Mnuchin for Treasury Will Dredge Up Mortgage Meltdown Controversies

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Is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, Mayor of the city of Gotham, on Trump’s list?

  • Former Goldman partner ran bank dubbed a ‘foreclosure machine’
  • He’s said to be leading candidate for Treasury secretary

Dubious lending practices. Bailouts. Foreclosures. Robo-signing. Huge executive paydays. If Steven Mnuchin is nominated for Treasury secretary, his confirmation process promises to dredge up every controversy of the U.S. mortgage meltdown almost a decade ago.

Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner and movie financier with no government experience who spent the past six months working as Donald Trump’s chief fundraiser. Trump’s transition team recommended Mnuchin for the Treasury job, people with knowledge of the matter said last week, and a decision could come any day. The part of his background that’s likely to get the most scrutiny is the six years he spent running OneWest Bank, a Southern California lender.

In 2009, during the depths of the financial crisis, Mnuchin joined with a group of former Goldman Sachs colleagues and billionaires to buy the remnants of IndyMac, which had collapsed after bingeing on reckless home loans during the frenzy of California’s subprime-mortgage boom. They changed the name to OneWest, turned it around and sold the bank for a big gain last year. Mnuchin may have personally gotten more than $200 million in proceeds from the sale, according to Bloomberg calculations. That doesn’t count any dividends or payments he might have received as chairman and chief executive officer of OneWest’s parent company.

The bank carried out more than 36,000 foreclosures during Mnuchin’s reign, according to the California Reinvestment Coalition, a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose deputy director, Kevin Stein, dubbed the bank a “foreclosure machine.” The group has accused OneWest of shoddy foreclosure practices and avoiding business in minority neighborhoods, claims the bank has denied.

Read on.

Facebook ends easy racial discrimination in housing ads

From the NY Times article:

“There are many nondiscriminatory uses of our ethnic affinity solution in these areas, but we have decided that we can best guard against discrimination by suspending these types of ads,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a blog post on Friday.

Trump Boasted About Taking Advantage Of America’s Housing Crisis, Laws And Workers

I only saw at last 20 minutes of the debates and missed this part.Wow, brag about taking advantage of the housing crisis and he is running for President?

Huffington Post:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump bragged Monday night about taking advantage of the housing market crash, an architect he once employed and America’s federal income tax laws.

Every chance she got during the first presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton pressed Trump on his business in real estate, bankruptcy filings, employment practices and refusal to release his tax returns. 

In an early heated exchange, Trump said his wishing for a housing market collapse was simply business savvy.  

“Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis,” Clinton said. “He said, back in 2006, ‘Gee, I hope it does collapse because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.’”

“That’s called business, by the way,” Trump interjected.

“Nine million people lost their jobs,” Clinton continued, talking over Trump. “Five million people lost their homes, and $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out.”

Trump did hope for the collapse. Two years before the recession and fall of the housing market, he said, “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy.”

His boasts during the debate didn’t stop there. Trump bragged he was “smart” not to pay federal income taxes for at least two years.

Here’s what Trump, Clinton said about housing in first #debatenight

Housingwire:

The first presidential debate had barely started and already Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost their cool. An adult conversation was out of the question.

What’s that saying? Listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. This debate did not reflect that.

They did, however, have one thing in common: They barely mentioned housing. Trump mentioned the housing market at the beginning of the debate, but did not stay on the topic long.

In fact, what was said about housing didn’t make much sense, as this tweet fromTrulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin shows:

How could we have the worst recovery since the Great Depression but also be in a bubble?

This comes as no surprise, and follows the theme of both candidates’ campaigns: neither one has focused on housing before this point.

Embattled Nevada housing agencies respond to allegations of wasted millions

A recent bombshell report from a federal watchdog suggested that the agency in charge of Nevada’s portion of the government’s Hardest Hit Fund wasted $8.2 million that should have funded the program’s administration costs, while at the same time, drastically cutting the number of struggling homeowners admitted to the program.

Now, the agency in question and the agency that oversees it are responding to those charges, and claiming that the amount of wasted money is far less than the watchdog suggests – $8 million less, to be exact.

Read on.

Bank of America Accused of Racial Discrimination in 30 U.S. Metropolitan Areas and 201 Cities

Civil Rights Groups File New Evidence of Housing Discrimination in Federal Complaint Alleging Neglect of Foreclosures in Communities of Color.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and nine local fair housing organizations filed an amended discrimination complaint against Bank of America (BoA).  The complaint alleges illegal discrimination by BoA in African American and Latino neighborhoods in six additional cities.  This new evidence of discriminatory treatment by BoA will be added to the federal Fair Housing Act complaint on file with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Furthermore, NFHA and the nine fair housing organizations added new evidence to their existing claims.  The six additional cities are:  Columbus, OH; Gary, IN; Minneapolis, MN; Newark, NJ; Tampa, FL; and neighborhoods in suburban Detroit.

NFHA and the nine fair housing organizations investigated an additional 399 Bank of America foreclosures and found that BoA continues its failure to properly maintain foreclosed properties in African American and Latino neighborhoods.  This new evidence formed the basis of the amended complaint.  The complaint is now comprised of evidence from 1,267 BoA properties in 30 metropolitan areas and 201 cities throughout the United States.

Read on.

Tim Kaine: Here’s how Hillary Clinton will ensure fair housing for all

In Kaine’s own words:

But I could never shake the impact Lorraine’s case had on me. She and I were about the same age. We were both starting the first chapter of our lives in the real world. And yet, simply because of our different skin color, we had radically different experiences finding a place to begin those lives.

A house is more than just a place to sleep. It’s part of the foundation on which a family can build a life. Where you live determines the jobs you can find, the schools your children can attend, the air you breathe and the opportunities you have. And when you are blocked from living where you want, it cuts to the core of who you are.

Housing official in Silicon Valley pens scathing resignation because she can’t afford to live there

Housing is so expensive in Palo Alto, California that its own housing official can no longer afford to live there and is resigning.

“After many years of trying to make it work in Palo Alto, my husband and I cannot see a way to stay in Palo Alto and raise a family here,” wrote Kate Vershov Downing onNewCo Shift.

The Bay Area has suffered from an affordable housing crisis, as rent costs in San Francisco increase with demand. A similar report out in May shows that demand is trickling down south into the peninsula and Silicon Valley.

“The median price paid for a new or existing home or condo in the nine-county region reached $700,000 in May,” a 6.3 percent increase since May 2015.

“Time and again, I’ve seen dozens of people come to both Commission meetings and Council meetings asking [the] Council to make housing its top priority,” Downing wrote. She then accused the City Council of charting “a course for the next 15 years of this city’s development which substantially continues the same job-housing imbalance this community has been suffering from for some time now.”

Due to high-paying tech jobs in the region, most renters and homeowners are willing to pay more for housing. Downing’s husband is a software engineer while she works as an attorney. If they aren’t even able to afford to live in Palo Alto, “then all of our teachers, first responders, and service workers are in dire straits.”

The problem is so severe a nonprofit organization was started in Oakland to help teachers who can’t afford housing in the area.

Read on.

Clinton’s VP pick Tim Kaine has a background in law in fair housing issues

Housingwire:

Although the presidential candidates haven’t been focused on housing,Hillary Clinton’s new running mate comes from a background in law in fair housing issues, according to an article by Nikelle Murphy for CheatSheet.

Before starting his life in politics, Hillary Clinton’s vice president pick Tim Kaine was an attorney, according to the article.

From the article:

His first client was a black woman who had been denied housing because of her race. As Raw Story reports, that case became the basis for much of Kaine’s career focus. Roughly 75% of his law firm’s cases were focused on fair housing issues, many of which were taken on a pro bono basis.

One of his victories includes a $100.5 million settlement from Nationwide, which was accused of restricting insurance provisions in minority neighborhoods.

Republican Party calls for significant changes to housing in 2016

Housingwire:

And if the Republican Party sweeps November’s elections, the world of housing finance could be in for some significant changes, as the 2016 Republican Party platform calls for seriously cutting the government’s role in housing, potentially abolishing theConsumer Financial Protection Bureau and ending the use of disparate impact to enforce fair lending laws.

According to the Republican Party platform, which can be read in full here, one of the GOP’s goals for 2016 and beyond is to “advance responsible homeownership while guarding against the abuses that led to the housing collapse.”

The GOP platform states that the party believes in the importance of homeownership and wants to do more to help more people achieve it.

“Homeownership expands personal liberty, builds communities, and helps Americans create wealth. ‘The American Dream’ is not a stale slogan. It is the lived reality that expresses the aspirations of all our people,” the Republican Party platform states. “It means a decent place to live, a safe place to raise kids, a welcoming place to retire. It bespeaks the quiet pride of those who work hard to shelter their family and, in the process, create caring neighborhoods.”

And to return to healthier levels of homeownership, instead of the current near-record lows, more needs to be done, but not by the government, the Republican Party argues.

According to the Republicans, the government has already done more than enough.

“The Great Recession devastated the housing market. U.S. taxpayers paid billions to rescue Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the latter managed and controlled by senior officials from the Carter and Clinton Administrations, and to cover the losses of the poorly-managed Federal Housing Administration,” the Republican platform states. “Millions lost their homes, millions more lost value in their homes.”