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Iceland has come to the realization that the mortgage crisis was the end result of a giant scam meant to extract wealth from the majority of the population by the banks and investment firms through speculation.

Iceland has decided that a portion of their population that are financially eligible now have their mortgage debt written down to their true value.

This should have been done in 2008 or when it came out that the banks and financiers were gaming the rest of us to make their ill gotten gains.

I advocate every country to do the same to correct the market.

The government and the newly constructed Icelandic banks developed a template to be used in case by case restructuring discussions between borrowers and lenders. The templates facilitated substantial debt write-downs designed to align secured debt with the supporting collateral (i.e bring the loan into line with the value of the house) and align debt service with the ability to repay.

The IMF found that such case by case negotiations safeguard property rights and reduce moral hazard, but they take time. As of January of this year, only 35% of the case by case restructuring applications had been processed. To speed things up, Iceland has introduced a debt forgiveness plan which writes down deeply underwater mortgages to 110% of the households' pledgeable assets.

It noted that only when a comprehensive framework was put in place and a clear expiration date for relief measures announced that debt write-downs finally took off. As of January 2012, 15 to 20% of all Icelandic mortgages have been or are in the process of being written down.


Before you jump into the comments to try and school me on how you see the mortgage crisis as not really a problem and not really a scam please watch this video below. It is explained in such a way even Conservatives will understand.

Now why exactly is the MSM totally ignoring this move by Iceland? I had to find a video in Spanish with subtitles to bring you this news.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's being ignored because it isn't true. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm on my way out Horace, but you need to look into this more and you'll see.

    Here is the truth: The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real. It is time to act. - Al Gore

    by Burned on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:25:50 AM PDT

    •  Only in the forgiveness part (15+ / 0-)

      they are playing hardball with the banks to ensure the people there do not suffer.

      Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:41:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The video is seriously misleading (7+ / 0-)

      It was NOT the subprime sector that was the problem. It was Alt-As, traditional ARMS and other prime mortgages that failed in worldwide collapse-inducing numbers.

      Liar loans were NOT given to the low end of the market. Liar loans were given to highly-paid consultants and others who could convincingly claim very high non-w2 income.

      The low end of the market - the traditional fannie & freddie market - performed better than the rest of the mortgage market.

      I wish people would stop promoting the right wing meme that it's the fault of all those shifty, dishonest poor people reaching beyond their station, and the feckless banks just being dumb by being too nice to good-for-nothing lazy poor (which is "dog-whistle" for black) people.

      If you look at the legislation that the banking industry bought from Congress, it was all designed to allow them to create essentially a global real estate ponzi scheme, suckering in the upper middle class and the neuveau riche to buy mcmansions with no money down. Their goal was wealth extraction - sucking the burgeoning wealth out of the bulging middle class.  

      The banks not only convinced all those gullible people, who had come to believe they were financially invincible, to take on a bigger risk because, after all, they "could always refinance and lock in a lower rate before the reset," but they often manufactured data on the loan documents without the knowledge of the borrower so they could push them through the approval as quickly as possible, flip the mortgage into the market, and collect their origination fees before the first mortgage payment could come due.

      It was the loan resets that crashed the market - the day interest rates climbed enough that it became impossible for borrowers to refinance at a rate lower than the massively increasing rates of their ARMs is the day it all went kerfluey. While a portion of the low end of the market was caught by similar circumstances, all the real money was at the high-end of the middle and the low end of the upper end of the market.

      •  I got a liar's loan. (0+ / 0-)

        In 2003. I was making less than $20,000 a year, but was able to bootstrap some of my existing circumstances to make an undocumented claim that I was earning an amount that was enough to qualify to buy my current home. My income claim wasn't true, in a literal sense; if I'd had to prove it with documentation, I'd probably still be renting. But it was close enough to true, in a non-literal sense, that my conscience allowed me to get away with it.

        And financially, I ultimately got away with it, but only by the skin of my teeth and only after getting a foreclosure notice at one point along the way.

        I didn't do it because I was a shifty, dishonest poor person reaching beyond my station; I was a longstanding member of the professional middle class who had owned three previous homes, but I had been through a very rough patch starting in about 2001. By 2003 I was beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and wanted to be a homeowner again.

        I believed in my own ability to get back on my feet, and I didn't believe I would ever default on my mortgage, so I was willing to fudge on the truth a bit. It took a little longer for me to recover financially than I thought it would. Ultimately my belief in myself was vindicated, but there were a couple of points along the way when I could have become one of those who lost it all.  

        "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

        by NWTerriD on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 07:23:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  T'd and R'd for the video. (12+ / 0-)

    Being a "meta-" person, generally, I particularly enjoyed the view from 10,000 ft. of the global capital meltdown. Was it over-simplified? Almost undoubtedly. But it was a starting-place for a discussion that we need to have, one that needs as many informed participants as possible. Thanks.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:56:51 AM PDT

    •  Informed participants ... (10+ / 0-)

      I'd love to believe that "even Conservatives will understand".

      Sadly, I don't believe it for a second. The great misinformed, willfully ignorant, teabagged masses are blinded by racism, paralyzed by hatred and resentment of the loss of white prerogative, and will not allow any presentation of Facts or Truth, no matter how simplified and how correct, to disturb the Fox News version of reality that inhabits their craniums.

      "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

      by flitedocnm on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:17:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OTOH, I love what Iceland is doing. (18+ / 0-)

        Of course, Iceland is highly educated. It is not inhabited by fundamentalist no-nothings. In fact, after the crash, the  country's women basically took over from the corrupt male bankers who used to run the place, and they've Just Said "NO" to austerity fundamentalism.

        Where else on the planet is that going to happen?

        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

        by flitedocnm on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:20:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You do realize that Sjálfstæðiflokkurin, the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          codairem

          party that caused all this mess in Iceland, is at 42.6% in the polls, a massive lead over the next closest competitor, Samfylkingin (head of the current governing coalition), at 14.8%, right?

          Link

          As for austerity, how does a ~30% across the board cut to pay for the IMF loans taken to help the banks sound to you?

          It's like people don't even care about the real Iceland, just whatever story fits the bill best.

          •  I'll leave it to you to write a diary (2+ / 0-)

            and substantiate your concerns; let us know why we should take them seriously.

            Please at least provide a link to an English-language source.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:33:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I assumed you could at least read the poll numbers (0+ / 0-)

              I don't know if there's any English reporting on the latest Icelandic poll results.

              •  The poll numbers, without context and (0+ / 0-)

                explanation, mean nothing to me. I don't speak Icelandic.

                Again, if you feel this is a critical story that's overlooked, I'd urge you to write a diary.

                It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                by karmsy on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:58:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A brief summary (0+ / 0-)

                  Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn = Independence Party = Roughly Iceland's equivalent of the Republican party.  They've had a stranglehold on Icelandic politics through most of its history; it was highly unusual that they're not in the ruling coalition at the moment.  Their pursuit of deregulation helped usher in the kreppa (the economic crisis that Iceland is still going through)

                  Samfylkingin = "Social Democrats" (well, not literally, but that's how it's usually translated).  Partnered with Vinstrihreyfingin to take power away from Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn after doing well enough in the last election.  The current prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is a member of Samfylkingin.

                  Vinstrihreyfingin / Vinstri Græn = "Left Greens".  

                  Poll summary:
                   * Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn: 42.6%
                   * Samfylkingin: 14.6%
                   * Vinstrihreyringin: 8.6%

                  Implications: Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn keep gaining in the polls and are even by themselves way ahead of the ruling coalition.

                  •  "people don't even care about the real Iceland" (0+ / 0-)

                    Um, what people don't even care? I assume that since you were responding to my comment, you were including me in the people who don't even care. How about, people don't have ready access to current events in Iceland (especially if one doesn't speak Icelandic), without going out and doing research -- which most people aren't going to do in writing comments for a diary.

                    It is very helpful to learn that things have changed, and very disappointing and depressing to learn that even Iceland is moving (back?) to the right. But it is not particularly constructive to ascribe a lack of caring to those who seek to have an informative discussion. I understand the frustration, but I expect better than that from people here, especially in response to a well intentioned comment.

                    I was simply bringing up what I knew from what appeared to be a well-sourced, year old article in the Nation about Iceland -- one of the very few that I've seen in U.S. media in recent times. Of course, it's no longer completely current, so I must beg forgiveness for relying on a piece that isn't absolutely up to date, but which I thought nevertheless was interesting and enlightening.

                    The Most Feminist Place in the World. The Nation, Feb 21, 2011

                    "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

                    by flitedocnm on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:09:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I should apologize. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      flitedocnm

                      It's not your fault; it just gets really frustrating when you have to keep trying to get rid of the same myths over and over again, and half the time, people refuse to accept the truth because they like the myth a lot better.  I know that it's sometimes hard to get news from Iceland (although for English language, I can refer you to the Reykjavík Grapevine (grapevine.is) and Iceland Review (icelandreview.com), or the English-news aggregator at Morgunblaðið (mbl.is/mm/frettir/english/).  After all, there's only 320,000 people in the whole country, a little over 1/1000th the population of the US.  Most of the world just ignores it unless there's a volcano going off or something.  So when a myth about Iceland springs up, it tends to be how people define the whole country in their minds.

                      As far as feminism goes, however, Iceland is still (IMHO) quite impressive on that front.  Members of Feminístafélag Íslands are often interviewed on radio and TV, strip clubs are illegal, prostitution is illegal for customers (but not for sellers), etc.  There's even a big controversy of late as to whether to legalize surrogacy in specific circumstances (there's a lot of concern that it would financially pressure women to use their bodies as baby factories).  Just always lots of focus about preventing the exploitation and objectification of womens' bodies.  Abortion is of course legal and readily available, concepts things like banning birth control aren't even on the political radar (it's a very sexually liberated country), there is huge government support for parenting (large maternity/paternity leave, highly subsidized childcare to make it easier for mothers to work, etc), and so forth.   My boss used to fly back and forth to Canada a lot, and he once mentioned that he watched with curiosity how the feminist movement in Canada progressed almost exactly the same way as it did in Iceland, just 15-20 years behind  ;)

                      That said, it's far from perfect in terms of feminism.  The prime example is that there is still a large gender wage gap.  And rape is often a focus in the media.  While the media plays up the rate (statistically it's not unusually high compared to other developed countries), it most definitely still exists (as I can personally attest).  And the rape conviction rate is abysmal.  Plus there's always groups working around the laws, sometimes right out in the open, like the strip club Goldfinger.  I still don't know how they haven't been shut down, and nobody else seems to know either.

                      Still, don't get me wrong -- when I mention negative things, its not because I don't love Iceland.  Rather, I love the country dearly, and that is precisely why always try to correct the record.  If people are going to love Iceland, it should be the real one, not a mythical one that threw all the bankers in jail, defaulted on its debt, forgave everyone's debts, and lived happily ever after.

                    •  As a side note... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      flitedocnm

                      I find that when Americans travel to Iceland, they often expect Icelanders to be as ignorant about America as they are about Iceland, or at least almost as ignorant.  When the reality is that your average Icelander knows at least as much about America as your average American   ;)  I missed part of a Mammút concert one night because when the guy I was chatting with between bands learned I was originally from the US, he wanted to chat about the US, a conversation which ranged from the flora of different parts of Texas to direct quotes of LBJ   ;)  I swear, Icelanders should get to vote in US elections...

                      •  Thanks -- I really appreciate your responses :) (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Rei

                        I was only in Iceland once, and that was just overnight, piloting a small plane across the pond -- in early December of 2005. So, I literally didn't have the chance to see much of the country, as it was quite dark. I've had every intention of returning and staying a while, but that still hasn't happened. Hopefully some day...

                        Not at all surprising to hear that Icelanders know more about the U.S. than Americans do. (No need to say more on that front.)

                        I gather you live there now? Sounds like there must be an interesting story there.

                        Cheers.

                        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

                        by flitedocnm on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 12:06:34 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yep - out of the country at the moment, but (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          flitedocnm

                          heading back on sunday.  I've actually run a whole diary series on moving to Iceland - how it all began, the trials and tribulations of working toward getting my permits, settling in, having to leave to wait on permits, etc.  

                          The Cliffs Notes version: first really hit my radar due to the music of Sigur Rós.  Because I liked Sigur Rós I watched their documentary, Heima.  Because of Heima, I wanted to go to Iceland and started learning the language.   Went to Iceland twice last summer (first briefly, then for over two weeks) and totally fell in love with the place.  Translated my resume to Icelandic (with help!  ;)  ) and applied for jobs.  Lucked into there being a programmer shortage and got my first interview in a week.  Paperwork dragged on for a long time.  Went over for a week in November to meet my coworkers, learn their systems, etc; fell more in love with the country.  Came back and worked with my boss and coworkers remotely.   Got more paperwork done.  Had a "small move" earlier this year where I relocated myself and my plants and what possessions I could take on a plane.  Lived there in my apartment for a while but then had to come back to the US to finish up the permits (it was heartbreaking to leave).  The permits are finally done now, so I get to go back home.  :)  And this time, my parrot is going with and my furniture and car will be arriving a couple weeks after I do.

                          It's a shame you didn't get to see the country.  Although to be fair, the airport at Keflavík is located way out in the middle of a giant lava field and is thus one of the most boring places in the whole country  ;)  The country is stunningly beautiful, both manmade and natural beauty.  And so diverse; for example, the south coast is rainforest-level rainfall, while 200 miles away it's New Mexico-level desert.  The country is littered with huge waterfalls, rainbow-colored mountains, columnar basalt spires, endless fields of lupine, and on and on.  The country is, obviously, largely feminist, LGBT-friendly, pacifist, and very open-minded and humanitarian.  The lack of programmers shouldn't come as a surprise; it's a total "creative culture".  Writing, art, music... oh, the music scene is just unbelievable for a country this size, I love so many Icelandic bands I can't even keep track of them.  The power's virtually all green (although the oil isn't), and hot water from the geothermal wells flows to all the houses in town, and runs an awesome public pool system (more like a spa system).  The food (excepting fruits and vegetables) is sooo good.  Heh, I could go on and on about Iceland.  I just miss it so much when I'm away.

                          •  Landed in Reykjavik, not Keflavik. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rei

                            So, I did get to see some of the construction being done at the time related to bringing geothermal water into buildings. Fascinating. And had a great dinner.

                            Best of luck! Sounds like an incredible adventure. Good for you for following your passion. I'll read your diaries some time.

                            "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

                            by flitedocnm on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 01:13:58 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Landed in Reykjavík? On an international flight? (0+ / 0-)

                            Well, that's different. Reykjavíkurflugvöllur is generally used for domestic flights. But then again, you did say it was a small plane, so it's possible.

                            FYI, if that was the airport you went to, you landed at my workplace  ;)  This map is centered on my office. The tower is just next door. I program on their ATC systems.  :)  In fact, I'm writing these messages as breaks the middle of in debugging oceanic clearance request message errors on a new module  ;)

                            If you ever swing back by my neck of the woods, drop me a line (meQme@daughQtersoftireQsias.org) - I'll show you around.  :)

                          •  (oh, and remove the Qs on the email, of course :)) (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Yep, definitely Reykjavik. My flight was IFR, but (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rei

                            obviously general aviation (Part 91 in the U.S.), not commercial. I was ferrying my newly acquired Socata single engine plane from Tarbes, France back to the U.S. An incredible, probably once-in-a-lifetime trip. I had a company pilot with me -- a retired French Air Force pilot. Very, very cool. The leg that ended in Reykjavik, began in Glasgow.

                            Many thanks for the hospitable offer. I hope to someday be able to take you up on that! And if you're ever in New Mexico, don't hesitate to me know, too. I don't think we're as picturesque as Iceland, but N.M. is pretty amazing (especially from the air!) : flitedocnm at swcp dot com

                            Your job sounds like fun, BTW. Cheers!  -Steve

                            "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

                            by flitedocnm on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:13:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  Great video (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III
  •  great idea (7+ / 0-)


    welfare-assisted wall street bankers

    SHOULD have to finally "share the pain."


    Iceland is showing the way to "create this equity."


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:44:09 PM PDT

  •  I like the Greenspan face-plant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, MKSinSA
  •  Hungary (4+ / 0-)

    has been doing something similar, dealing with their specific problem of mortgages in Euros and Swiss Francs which went into the ozone when their own currency inflated after the crisis by mandating that banks accept conversion to forints at a steep subsidy.  Naturally, this has absolutely infuriated the heavily bankster-dominated EU, and they're sort of not-quite-threatening to throw Hungary out.  I think Hungary might eventually decide to let them if they don't nicey up, but most likely they'll nicey up because the Austrian and German banks have their shirts sunk into Hungarian loans and can't afford to write them off . . .

    •  AFAIC (7+ / 0-)

      The banks created this problem and now it is time for them to take their medicine.

      Just because they will lose profits is no reason to make people go hungry.

      Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:42:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that Iceland's handling of the mortgage (5+ / 0-)

        crisis is much better than what we've seen in this country. Their government is much more willing to take on their equivalent of Wall Street than ours is. Too many banker controlled  legislators in the US to make it happen. My guess is that the only way in which something similar occurs here is for the people to make it happen. And making it happen is more than letting officials know what the electorate want. Poll after poll shows that between 60 and 80 percent of the voters want to increase taxes on the rich and that isn't likely to happen soon. Action is needed and I'm open to suggestions.

        •  Their equivalent of wall street is all but dead. (8+ / 0-)

          It was young when the crash hit, and was all but destroyed by it.  

          How Iceland handled the mortgage crisis could not happen here because nothing like the Icelandic mortgage crisis happened here.

          Most people don't understand the scale of what happened to Iceland, so let me put it this way.  Picture 300 Lehman Brothers collapsing at the same time in the US.  That's the per-capita equivalent of the Icelandic bank crashes.  The Icelandic banks were not just large in Icelandic terms; they were large in global terms.  In a country with only 320k people.

          •  I see what you mean that the situation was much (0+ / 0-)

            worse. Their bankers wouldn't have had the influence our own did. Still, much more should have been done here. A real mortgage relief program tied to the bailout. Real limits on banker bonuses. A slew of opportunities lost. With no new meaningful regulations and banksters starting the dance again, it looks like there we will have another chance.

      •  Not in Hungary. There people had an option (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        codairem

        of mortgage either in forints or in swiss francs. Mortgage in forints had higher interest rate so a lot of people didn't choose it. Then forint crashed and people could no longer make mortgage payments in swiss francs at a new exchange rate. The discount for conversion was not that big though, about 25%.

        http://www.ft.com/...

  •  test (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    Join the War on Thinking. Watch Fox News- John Lucas

    by Jlukes on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:55:36 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, I advocate every developed country with (6+ / 0-)

    foreign currency-indexed mortgages to rule them illegal and bring the debt in line with a traditional mortgage after the country's currency collapses to half it's former value on world markets.

    Which applies to precisely one country: Iceland.

    Iceland was in a very unusual situation for two reasons.  One, the currency collapse.  It's the sort of thing you generally see in third-world countries when there's a coup or something of that nature.  Practically overnight, the buying power of all of people's króna-denominated assets was cut in half.  Very painful for people in a country so dependent on imports, coming at a time when there's major austerity plus tax cuts.

    The other reason being the foreign-currency-indexed mortgages.  The króna is an incredibly low circulation currency.  It's only used in one country and that country has only 320,000 people.  As a consequence, it has a history of being very volatile and having high inflation in the long-term.  So banks favored doing business in foreign currencies, even on debts accrued solely in Iceland.  This is not done in any other developed nation, to the best of my knowledge.

    It also, according to the courts, was done in ways contrary to Icelandic law.  

    To picture what it was like for people in Iceland, it's not like what we saw in the US, where people's home values steadily fell.  Oh, that happened too, don't get me wrong (thankfully, not as badly as in a lot of places).  It's not that people found themselves with less assets; they found themselves with double the debt, with almost no warning.  Which is of course much  worse.  If you owe 200k on a 200k home and the home value gets cut in half to 100k, you're down 100k.  If you owe 200k on a 200k home and you suddenly find yourself owing 400k, you're down 200k.  

    •  Also Hungary and several other countries. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, the fan man

      Foreign currency-denominated mortgages are fairly common in the countries with unstable currencies.

    •  why didn't Iceland join the Euro? n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:16:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Euro as in the EU or as in the currency? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego

        Both have long been topics for debate within the country and there've been accession talks ongoing.  But the country is highly split over both. .

        I haven't lived in Iceland long enough to feel I fully have a grasp of the implications of such moves for the country and thus wouldn't feel up to sharing my own opinions on it thusfar.

        Either way,  I don't expect to see much headway on accession anyway until the mackerel and Icesave disputes are resolved, all issues of how people will vote aside.

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