Oppenheim Law

Congressional Inquiry Into Foreclosure Review Is Too Little, Too Late -- US News and World Report

News   •   Feb 07, 2013 10:21 EST

This blog originally appeared in US News and World Report's Home Front Blog


A foreclosed house for sale

So now some key members of Congress want a thorough review of the Independent Foreclosure Review process?

vague multi-billion dollar settlement? The same process that leaves as much doubt, if not more, about homeowner relief?

The same process many—myself included—questioned from the very beginning?

It's great to puff your chest now and call for transparency to "speed recovery in the housing markets," but as the saying goes, 'It's a day late and a dollar short.' Scratch that—it's a few years too late and billions of dollars short.

While recovering, housing markets across the country are still reeling from the 2008 collapse, and every minute wasted on these 'independent' reviews is time that is not being spent fixing the larger problems at hand, including the giant mess that is Wall Street.

[READ: In Wake of Housing Bust, Fewer Young Homeowners]

Many of the politicians demanding a thorough examination of the Independent Foreclosure Reviews are people I respect tremendously. That being said, we are so far beyond the 8-ball, that I wonder if the transparency they are demanding is actually attainable.

For starters, we've heard this kind of promise before, and it rarely seems to pan out. Second, the very same government that claims to be looking out for homeowners is still too intertwined with Wall Street's interests.

I got an E-mail from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hailing a decision invalidating the president's 2012 recess appointments—including the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—as a landmark victory and an "incredible win for the employer community."

Translation: Forget about the average working stiff. (And they wonder why I haven't joined?)

How can the politicians expect our faith or trust if we continue to get these mixed messages?

While I want to stand behind the efforts of Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and others, it's hard to take them seriously after the foreclosure review program is already dead and buried.

[READ: Consumer Watch Dog Inks New Mortgage Rules]

It's like a never-ending game of catch-up. This reactive method of bureaucracy will not help homeowners and it will certainly not bring any true sense of transparency.

The fact is that train left the station a long time ago. The time to demand an open and truly independent foreclosure review was in the program's early stages. Once again actions by Congress are too little, too late.

Real estate attorney Roy Oppenheim left Wall Street for Main Street, founding Oppenheim Law with his wife in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He is vice president of Weston Title and creator of the South Florida Law Blog, named the best business and technology blog by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Follow Roy on Twitter at @OpLaw or like Oppenheim Law on Facebook.

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