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Obama economy officials, bank execs and mortgage electronic registry head to hot seat on Capitol Hill

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

The second congressional hearing on the foreclosure mess -- to be held Thursday at 10 a.m. by Rep. Maxine Waters's Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity -- may provide some insight into the history of robo-signing and the perhaps more serious issue of title transfers.

The very robust witness list includes representatives from the patchwork of federal regulatory agencies that share responsibility for overseeing banks. John Walsh's testimony is likely to be of special interest since he's in charge of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the primary regulator of the large banks that froze foreclosures.

On the second panel, R.K. Arnold's testimony will be closely watched by consumer groups and homeowner attorneys who have challenged the validity of mortgage transfers that are tracked by MERS. The MERS issue broadens the robo-signing problem beyond homes in foreclosure to all 63 million mortgages that are tracked by the computer system.

The hearing's final witness -- Anne Anastasi, president of American Land Title Association -- will also be someone to watch. Title insurers hold tremendous power over mortgage servicers and their stocks have been hit over concerns that their business might be affected if more and more foreclosures were contested.

The Senate banking committee is holding the first hearing on this topic Tuesday.

A third hearing ("Foreclosed Justice: Causes and Effects of the Foreclosure Crisis") that was to be held by the House judiciary committee Wednesday has been postponed.

Here's the full witness list for the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity on Thursday:

Panel One
* Phyllis Caldwell, chief, Homeownership Preservation Office, U.S. Department of the Treasury
*Elizabeth A. Duke, governor, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
*David Stevens, assistant secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Administration Commissioner, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
*John Walsh, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
*Edward DeMarco, acting director, Federal Housing Finance Agency

Panel Two
*Rebecca Mairone, Default Servicing executive, Bank of America
*Thomas Marano, chief executive of Mortgage Operations, Ally Financial Inc.
*Stephanie Mudick, executive vice president, Office of Consumer Practices, JP Morgan Chase
*Alan Jones, head of Servicing Operations, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
*Harold Lewis, managing director, Citi Mortgage
*RK Arnold, president and chief executive, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS)

Panel Three
*Adam Levitin, associate professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center
*Anthony B. Sanders, professor of finance, distinguished professor of real estate finance, School of Management, George Mason University
*Julia Gordon, senior policy counsel, Center for Responsible Lending
*Linda Fisher, professor of law, Seton Hall School of Law
*Anne Anastasi, president, American Land Title Association

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | November 15, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Housing  
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Next: Economic agenda: Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010

Comments

Surely more of the same.

Nobody did nothing wrong at any time. Waste of taxpayer's money...

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

How 'bout someone ask Phyllis Caldwell exactly *how* just applying for a loan mod is a good thing? it dings your credit up front, and drains off cash that the family could be saving for their transition. The vast majority of HAMP and HARP apps fail, not even a trial. Even the ones in trial are usually rejected.
The temp mods are simply vehicles for the banks to skim the remaining value off the corpse of the dying mtg.
Her "well they got some benefit" is total bull, and everyone knows it. Read propublica.org, loan mod. Or the papers of any of the excellent law school profs who have spoken out against the false hope and budget bust of a temp mod.
Also, put bansk on the spot as to why their mods are more readily offered: could it be to preserve the padded array of fees, costs, assessments, interest and penalties (which HAMP erases.)
Caldwell needs a surgical drilling by well-prepared questioners, to put the blame where it is due
Her bland "it's all good" response to prior questioning insulted the intelligence of the taxpayers who employ her, and who funded the bank bailouts with the *promise* of help for homeowners.
Speak into the microphone, Caldwell. We are ready and waiting for this performance....

Posted by: FloridaChick | November 15, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Rebecca Mairone of BOA has a heck of nerve showing up to "testify" when BOA has been the lowest performer in the HAMP meltdown, percentage wise.
They have mounted an extensive public relations campaign to trash their best customers, rue the C'wide purchase, and denigrate mortgagees as lying con men and women lying in wait to defraud the taxpayer. The only part they have right is the fraud: but they wear the black hat.
BOA should know: it has used more essentially free tax money to lend for pure profit than any institution, ever. BOA makes a mockery of the HAMP process. The sneering chair, Brian Moynihan (who is on his way out, nice stock price dude!) has been relentless in his trash talk about his millions of customers - whom he is tossing into the street by the thousands, per day.
Mairone will hear laughter if she launches into her "we have modified the most" line (duh, they have the lowest *percentage* of any of the big servicers, a better measure.)
As their stock tanks, livid bond investors clamor and lawyers lick their chops, these second-rate attempts to paper over fraud and home theft stand as a moral stain on the American way.
I moved my money from BOA to a credit union. You should, also.

Posted by: FloridaChick | November 15, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Sadly It will only get worst. With policies that are in place and the amount of national debt (still growing), we as Americans will not see a return or correction until we as individuals take personal ownership for our actions. We must return to this nations founding principles.

I can help!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 16, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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