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Katie Porter Named Independent Monitor for California's Part of National Mortgage Settlement

posted by Jean Braucher

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has appointed Credit Slip's own Katie Porter as independent monitor for California's part of the national mortgage settlement. The five financial institutions involved in the settlement have committed to provide California homeowners with up to $18 billion in benefits in the settlement. Katie will be monitoring on behalf of the California AG to ensure that they comply. For details, see http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2646 and http://www.latimes.com/business/money/fi-mo-banks-settlement-20120315,0,5768422.story. Congrats to General Harris on a wise choice!

Now for the local news: Although Katie won’t be commenting here on the national settlement or California’s part of it as a Credit Slips blogger, she will still be able to comment on other issues involving consumer credit and consumer bankruptcy, as time permits. She will also continue to be a law professor at the University of California-Irvine. We also wouldn't be surprised if she builds some empirical research into the monitoring process, given her commitment to data-driven legal enforcement and policy-making.

Comments

Really congratulations to the general for her intelligent decision.We expect some more commencements from Katie.

Congratulations, Ms. Porter. I am thrilled that someone with even any consumer orientation whatsoever would be appointed to this position.

Only the enforcement provisions of the foreclosure settlement have any real significance, in my view. The rest was the banks bringing forward write-downs and adjustments that they are going to have to do anyway, with a number of unrelated cases, that the banks were sure to lose anyway, thrown in to make the overall number look larger.

Meanwhile, the banks were given huge wins in the areas of civil immunity and an astonishing unprecedented reversal of normal lien priority by mandating a proportionate write-downs of first and second mortgages.

In other words, this starts out as a massive "win" for the banks and the least that you can do is hold the banks to their minimal burdens under the deal.

Finally, I must add that I was disappointed by the weak tone of Ms. Porter's quotation in the LA Times: ""I'm going to be checking to make sure the rules are being followed," Porter said. "We need to restore confidence that financial institutions are doing the right thing."

Isn't the point to improve the banks' behavior, not to "restore confidence" in their behavior? And are you really just going to be "checking"? (Again, it seems a pretty meek choice of words.)

Instead how about this sort of language: "I promise vigorously to enforce the banks' strict adherence to every word of the settlement."

For all I know, you also said such things elsewhere in your comments and only these two weak sentences were quoted. If so I apologize, but the quotation as it stands in the article is a bit frightening given the past behavior of the banks and the incredible political pull that they clearly have in this state and throughout the country.

One of the first questions my clients have is whether or not they are excluded (in California) from participating in this settlement. While it is clearly marked that Riverside is a Hardest Hit area, and my viewing audience includes 400,000 hispanic homes..... no one seems to know why FANNIE and FREDDIE are the only two EXCLUSIONS mentioned on the National Mortgage Settlement website, and yet Wells Fargo is publishing that FHA and VA loans are also NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AT ALL and are also EXCLUDED but not clearly mentioned as such on the NMS website. What do I tell my clients (which include myself as my own home is underwater and the note is serviced by WF as an FHA loan)? If everyone is EXCLUDED from the aid, who exactly IS included? It is hard to be responsible in informing mty casual client, and as the financial expert on the local Spanish language TV news commenting on all matters economic, I sure would appreciate a clear answer so I can inform my public. Begging for clarification and help, I remain hopelessly devoted to my beloved hispanic community here which represents over 40 percent of the local population. I implore your assistance. Sincerely, John-Paul VALDEZ

I am happy that general has made a wise decision and we should appreciate her for it.

It is a good move in terms of mortgage settlements and a very intelligent person is appointed for it congrats to her

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