Alain Sherter’s work appears on BNET. He is a great writer and thinker whose work often points in original directions. His outrage over the ethical shortcomings of American business mirrors my own.
Here’s a sample of his writing -
Banks that foreclose on a home must first prove they own the mortgage. So affirmed the top Massachusetts court today in ruling against U.S. Bancorp (USB) and Wells Fargo (WFC) in a decision could boost homeowners fighting foreclosure and end up costing banks billions.
One financial expert told Bloomberg the ruling could “open the floodgates” to similar suits in the state and bolster cases around the nation. Financial pundit Barry Ritholtz also called the ruling a victory for the rule of law and property rights, noting in a related post discussing the case:
This is more than a technical issue; at risk is whether we, as a nation, are going to allow corporate entities to violate existing law, or even worse, attempt to create their own, extra-legal, non democratic policies.
Certainly investors seem worried. U.S. Bancorp and Wells shares immediately dipped on the news, with broader bank stocks also tumbling. It’s no secret why. As the “robo-signing” furor has shown, banks for years have flouted legal requirements to document their right to seize homes. Foreclosure affidavits were rubber-stamped or even faked. Local laws regarding property transfers were ignored. Financial firms eager to mince mortgages up into securities violated rules intended to establish a clear chain of title in foreclosure cases.
Alain Sherter’s regular column, Financial Folly, is an invaluable guide to the shenanigans of the financial world. I recommend him to you.