We just received word that the mortgage fraud task force that President Obama called for in this year's State of the Union has announced it's first piece of work, according to The New York Times. Here's the reaction from The New Bottom Line director Tracy Van Slyke:
"Today, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the RMBS Task Force took an important step in holding Wall Street and JP Morgan Chase accountable for the worst financial crimes in our nation's history. While we applaud Attorney General Schneiderman, today's action against JP Morgan must be the beginning, not the end. This is the starting line of justice and relief for the millions of Americans ripped off and defrauded by our country’s most powerful financial institutions.
"Wall Street’s insatiable desire for securitized mortgages was the prime mover of the sub-prime debacle which forced millions of homeowners out of their homes and cost billions of dollars in lost wealth. As with most lawsuits of this type, we expect that settlement negotiations that will begin soon or have already begun and must put homeowner relief at the center of the discussion.
"One of the most critical and necessary outcomes of the RMBS task force and resulting lawsuits must be hundreds of billions of dollars in relief for millions of homeowners, especially communities of color hit hardest by Wall Street, in the form of resetting mortgages to fair market value. The result can not be a repeat of the drop-in-the-bucket Attorneys General settlement with big banks earlier thisyear. This must also must be the first of many lawsuits filed against other big banks.
"It is profoundly disappointing there are no criminal charges filed against top officials at JP Morgan Chase bank or any other bank so far.
"The significance of this lawsuit shows that the next President, be it President Obama or Governor Romney, needs to make principal reduction for homeowners and Wall Street accountability a top priority in their first 100 days."