Monday, October 04, 2010

Let's call it what it really is...

"Robo-signing" is what some people are calling it.

Banks would claim that they had a valid reason to foreclose on a house. But they didn't have the proper documentation.

"Robo-signing".

A "foreclosure-document mess".

How about theft? How about fraud?

How on earth is in a bad process (robo-signing) or a mere "mess" when someone goes to court, swears that they have a right to someone else's property, and walks away with the title?

Of course, we've been headed in this direction for a long time. For many years, people have warned about the perils of identity theft, where you can become liable for charges made, and loans taken out in, your name.

In a just world, the onus would be on the lenders to be sure that you had taken out the loan or made the charges. But it's not.

Of course, having easy access to credit is a big economic boost to the country; a lot more goods can be bought and sold, and a bigger economy is often a good thing. I don't want to pretend that the possibility of identity theft should shut down all extensions of credit. But that is where it started.

We started letting people take out loans and credit cards and make charges without full assurance that they were real people, or that they were the people they claimed to be.

And then, so that the banks didn't get stuck with fraudulent charges, we let the banks go after the victims of identity theft.

And now, well, now we're letting banks take houses from people, without even being completely sure those banks hold the primary mortgage.

It's a scary thing, but we could see it from the beginning, when we first decided it was better to let the banks demand payment of debts from people who'd never made charges, who'd never taken out loans, than to demand that the banks provide proof that the specific person in question actually requested the credit, or loan. When does it end?

Well, maybe it'll end now.

Because, you see, the banks foreclosed on houses they didn't have a right to foreclose on. And that means that they're going to hurt other banks who might actually hold the primary liens, or might want to make a mortgage loan on the house, but can't because the title can't be insured.

Maybe now... maybe now that it might affect the rich and powerful, maybe we'll start taking notice of how the banks have demanded unjust power over the legal system.

But in a nation that's supposedly founded "of, by, and for the people" it should have happened a long time ago.

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