Regulatory Reform Subcommittee Holds Hearing on the Justice Department’s Controversial Mortgage-Lending Settlements

Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, February 12th at 10:30 a.m., the Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing entitled “Consumers Shortchanged? Oversight of the Justice Department’s Mortgage Lending Settlements.”

The hearing will examine startling terms in the Justice Department’s two recent mortgage-lending settlements with Bank of America and Citigroup, including a requirement that the banks donate over one hundred million dollars to a list of eligible activist groups. Eligible groups include La Raza and NeighborWorks, an organization that has been described as “fund(ing) a national network of left-wing community organizers operating in the mold of Acorn.” In addition, banks earn two dollars worth of credit against their overall consumer relief commitment for donations above the minimum to activist groups. In contrast, direct forms of consumer relief such as loan modifications earn only dollar-for-dollar credit.

The hearing will also address a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder sent by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) on November 25, 2014. In the letter, the Chairmen asked the Attorney General why “the terms in the Justice Department’s two latest settlements look less like consumer relief and more like a scheme to funnel money to politically favored special interest groups.”

At the hearing, the Subcommittee will hear from Mr. Geoffrey Graber, the Deputy Associate Attorney General and Director of the RMBS Working Group of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at the U.S. Department of Justice. Additional witnesses will be announced on the Judiciary Committee’s website closer to the date of the hearing.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Regulatory Reform Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.) issued the following joint statement on the upcoming subcommittee hearing:

“Decisions made by the Justice Department increasingly reflect a culture of politics and games rather than nonpartisan justice. The American people deserve answers from the Justice Department on its controversial settlements with Bank of America and Citigroup and their required donations to activist groups. Using bank settlements to funnel money to activist groups instead of consumers who were harmed is not only bad policy – it is a breeding ground for abuse and favoritism. We look forward to getting answers and hearing from the Justice Department on their rationale behind their startling decisions.”

The hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at judiciary.house.gov. Additional witnesses and witness testimonies will be posted on the Judiciary Committee’s website when available.

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4 Responses to “Regulatory Reform Subcommittee Holds Hearing on the Justice Department’s Controversial Mortgage-Lending Settlements”
  1. 5TH USCA 14-51224 David McCrae v. PHH Mortgage Company, et al.

    Texas STOP Little House on the Prairie STOP Carpetbaggers STOP I’m Your HuckleBerry END

    ORAL ARGUMENT – 15 MINUTES

    Springtime in New Orleans.

    [APPELLANT]

    Good Morning!

    [WHOAMI?]

    I’m Dave McCrae. I own a little patch of land over in Texas, about 5 acres we split off Clyde’s ranch in 2001, put in our own water and electric, and took up residence. I moved to Texas in 2001 after my employer in Illinois at the time curled up and went bankrupt. I heard about it on the radio one Friday afternoon, and spent the weekend making sure everything was turned off and nothing would explode. I was invited to hang around and see how things worked out, and give our security people some comfort about where all the light switches were, and maybe get paid. It was much different work than I’m used to. I decided I was disinclined, and decided to move to Texas and do whatever people do down there to make a living.

    We sold our house in Indiana and bought the Texas place. I burned the Indiana furniture, and bought new in Texas. It was cheaper. Indiana was the second house we bought after we moved from Cleveland, our first home, and where all our kids were born. So we were relatively comfortable taking a mortgage for our third house. We’d already bought and sold two. In 2001 I was 51 years old, so I took out the mortgage for fifteen years. Most people retire about 66, and I’m like most people. We borrowed $72,500 on property valued at $100,000. Life was simple back then, and we paid 6-1/4% interest – 180 payments, no PMI, no balloons. We later found that PHH had held the mortgage for eight days, and securitized it over to FNMA. That’s another story. You’ve heard that one too.

    I’ve made my living building steel mills, power plants, foundries, refineries, stadiums, churches, and even running undersea robots hooking up oil wells down in the bottom of the ocean. Actually, that was more fun than work. I continued doing that work after we relocated our residence. I did more traveling to and from client locations. I continued to work until I was 62, when I decided to finish one client project in Mississippi and retire completely, in July 2012. I was healthy, all the kids were grown, and I decided to work on my golf game a little more aggressively. Pretty soon.

    I had known this was going to come to pass at some point. I had made quite a bundle of prepayments on my mortgage as circumstances permitted, in varying amounts and on irregular occasions, and by 2012 I had employed this strategy to advantage and reduced my principal from ~$23,000+ to about $7,558, or about 2 years eight months advanced. We had about eleven payments to go. My computer does Excel, and amortization schedules are not that complex. I was sure I was in pretty close agreement with PHH on principal. I called them up in New Jersey on their hot line to get a payoff statement.

    Basically, there are millions of people like me in Texas. There are millions of stories like mine. My story to this point is unremarkable.

    [WHY ARE WE HERE?]

    That brings us to our business here today. We are here to resolve an unusual situation, of some social timeliness, and offering some unique legal issue. I’m from Main Street. My counterparties live on Wall.

    PHH and I had our differences and we were obviously never able to work them out staisfactorily. You’ve read through our court records from Western Texas to this point, and our briefs, and I’m sure your mind is spinning with facts and issues. We’ve been at loggerheads since 2012. This is 2015. It’s a ball of confusion. I’m not going to reread everything out loud. I will take questions, and answer what I can.

    I’m embarrassed for all of us. We’ve done a terrible job in managing our own communication, and an even worse job in the lower courts sorting things out. Right now, today, since I walked in, I’ve spent more time in the same room with my counterparties discussing this issue than we’ve spent together in the past three years. BTW, there’s something wrong with that, all by itself. There ought to be a law. Maybe something like 2015 RESPA-TILA. That one’s about 1888 pages of law, 59 pages of amendments, 49 pages of interpretations, and 430 pages of public comments.

    [RUBIKS CUBE EXERCISE, Facts and Issues, interactive with panel. Solve three modified cubes.]

    Simply put, we need a jury. Somehow we skipped over that in Texas. Now we’re here in New Orleans. We need a jury. We NEED a JURY!

    [WHY DO WE FIGHT?]

    I’ve come here today as a US Citizen, representing our current Attorney General, under the qui tam system. The confused facts and issues in my case are only too representative of the current economic quagmire affecting every property owner in the United States. I would hazard a guess that half of the civil dockets in the US Courts deal with property disputes such as ours today. Subtract drugs, soon 80%. In 1989 they put Charlie Keating in jail; the legislature, Republicans and Democrats, reviewed existing law and passed a Financial Institution Regulation Reform and Enforcement Act to regulate, reform, enforce and eliminate just such future problems. Our central bankers in Chicago wrote scholarly papers on the wonders of self regulation, and proselytized our self correcting economic system to the world. In twenty years, the world was on the brink of economic collapse. We set up a Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission forthwith, and they printed a Blue Ribbon Report. It was scary. We printed more money to fix it. And more money. And more money. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth. There were sound bytes. We got a Brand New President. Some Congresspeople even lost their jobs and were replaced. Bernie Madoff had to go to jail. I think Charlie had passed. Ken Lay was in jail; he was one of the smartest guys in the room. In 2012, the legislature, Republicans and Democrats, passed the Warren Dodd Financial Regulation and Reform Act to regulate and reform this whole industry. It comprised a little less self-regulation, and a little more enforcement. We bailed out all the banks and made them whole, whoever was left. We closed up HOWMANY?. Still, people who lived in houses were just foam on the runway. We set up a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, starting in 2014. BTW, anyone here today from that group? [LOOK AROUND] No? That’s why I’m here. I’m here today representing enforcement. I have standing in this matter. Eric (Loretta?) is indisposed. We have a Mortgage Fraud Task Force Working Group set up, and they’re tremendously busy. BTW, anyone here today from that group? [LOOK AROUND] No? That’s why I’m here. I have the time and the inclination.

    Why are my counterparties here today? [LOOK AROUND] Yes, of course they’re here. They like to be self regulated. They want to stay that way. I think they have another motion for dismissal coming up, as soon as I shut up.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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    [WHO WILL WIN?]

    I’m an optimist, only due to personal preference. I expect the United States people will win this case. I think we can improve the business environment, especially in the mortgage servicing business. We’ll need your help.

    Send this case back to Texas. Order a US Attorney to get involved. He’s already on the payroll. Prepare and present this case to a jury. The cost and time is insignificant. It’s already allocated. I have the time and the inclination. I’ll join in.

    I have one house. I’ve paid for it. I’ve fought for it. My opponents own 2.7% of the houses in America. They foreclose 10,000 houses every 90 days, about 111/day, including weekends. They regulate themselves. The enforcers are having a meeting today, working out a strategy.

    We’re having a meeting too. We have a rare opportunity to make a difference. Let’s do it. Yesterday.

    [GUEST INTRO]

    Is there any other business before the court today?

    US SENATORS, OR MINIONS? You’re Invited! Bring your friends!

    STATE ATTORNEY GENERALS, OR MINIONS? You’re Invited! Bring your friends!

    SEALED COMPLAINTS* FROM OTHER STATES? You’re solicited! Bring your files!

    *NOTE- We will not be able to unseal complaints at this meeting. One, I’m not an attorney. I represent only myself, Pro Hac Vice. I represent USAG, qui tam. I can’t represent other Class members. Nevertheless, one of the issues on appeal here is the possible existence of a Class of Others Like Myself, and their future Charter. I feel strongly that we will discover such a Class after remand to District and assignment of counsel. At that time, our US Attorney will ask for complaints again, we’ll unseal the boxes and get to work. Today…laissez bon temps roulez!

    David McCrae, pro se
    Tranquility Base
    350 Cee Run
    Bertram, TX 78605
    01.512.557.0283 WorldWide
    xstek99@gmail.com
    http://www.phhmortgagemustbedestroyed.weebly.com

  2. hammertime says:

    The bigger concern is selective enforcement by the Monitor, Joseph Smith, and local governments from both sides.

  3. hammertime says:

    As a lifelong Democrat and stuck in bank fraud for years I can’t help but agree. On the other hand the do nothing Republicans that want no reform for banks and sat on their hands as Wall St assaulted the middle class seem to be playing pure politics. Good change though and these Republicans should be held accountable for past actions and future actions.

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