In the wake of many highly-publicized stories about rampant fraud perpetrated by banks in foreclosure proceedings, the Federal Reserve has decided to support stronger regulations under financial reform President Obama signed into law last summer.
The FDIC has been pushing hard to ensure that new regulations on the mortgage bond market include clear instructions for how banks handle mortgages-- and under what circumstances they can evict delinquent borrowers. The bank divisions that collect payments from borrowers and implement the foreclosure process-- known as "mortgage servicers"-- have been plagued by rampant problems with fraudulent documentation. This fraud has resulted in everything from illegal fees charged to borrowers to improper evictions.
The Fed had opposed using the mortgage bond rules to crack down on foreclosure abuses, despite pressure from the FDIC. But FDIC General Counsel Michael Krimminger recently told the Fed his agency would not support any new mortgage bond regulations that do not include strong rules forbidding foreclosure abuses. Krimminger told HuffPost that other regulatory agencies are "moving in our direction on the issue."
Krimminger would not specify which agencies were coming around. But a separate source close to the discussions told HuffPost that the Fed has come on board, with systemic risk watchdogs at the central bank sympathetic to Krimminger's position.
It doesn't do much to help existing victims of foreclosure fraud, nothing short of sending some bankers to jail would. But this is an important step in creating accountability for banks and protections for borrowers.