By James Kwak
One of the things I can’t stand about the corporate world is the tendency of senior executives to say things that they wish were true, without verifying whether they actually are true or not. Perhaps my favorite example of all time is Stan O’Neal’s internal memo from mid-2007:
“More than anything else, the quarter reflected the benefits of a simple but critical fact: we go about managing risk and market activity every day at this company. It’s what our clients pay us to do, and as you all know, we’re pretty good at it.”
But here’s another good one from Barbara Desoer, head of Bank of America’s home loan division (to Bloomberg):
“We believe that our assessment shows the basis for past foreclosure decisions is accurate. We have good processes and good controls.”
And apparently she’s sticking with this line. This week she told Congress, “Thus far we have confirmed the basis for our foreclosure decisions has been accurate.”
Well. She might want to have her people read the newspaper. There was the Sun Sentinel story about a man who was foreclosed on by Bank of America, despite not having a mortgage . . . with anyone. Or she might try talking to some of the other people appearing before Congress. Adam Levitin, in his testimony today, says this (p. 21):
“Many foreclosure complaints are facially defective and should be dismissed because they fail to attach the note. I have recently examined a small sample of foreclosure cases filed in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh and environs) in May 2010. In over 60% of those foreclosure filings, the complaint failed to include a copy of the note. Failure to attach the note appears to be routine practice for some of the foreclosure mill law firms, including two that handle all of Bank of America’s foreclosures.”
And this is without even looking for examples, just stuff I’ve blogged about before or happened to be reading this afternoon.
Now, if you want lots of details about how the banks and their lawyers are flouting the rule of law, there are better blogs than this one. As a member of the reality-based community, I just want to register my indignation at the corporate world’s disdain for, well, reality.
Oh, and do you know what Barbara Desoer says is her best quality in that Bloomberg article? Common sense.
Update: My outrage at Bank of America actually distracted me from my original point. If you want a readable, comprehensive, but not too long overview of the legal issues involved in the foreclosure scandal, read Levitin’s testimony. It’s excellent.