Last year, five major U.S. Banks and 49 state attorneys general agreed on a $25 billion settlement to compensate victims of abusive bank practices and foreclosure fraud. But, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the banksters are violating the terms of that agreement. The settlement dictated that the banks would pay restitution to victims of illegal foreclosures, modify existing loans to keep people in their homes, and abide by new rules aimed at protecting consumers.
But, Attorney General Schneiderman said that his office alone has documented 210 violations by Wells Fargo and 129 by Bank of America. And, he says he is prepared to file a lawsuit against the banks if the problems aren't corrected. In addition to the issues reported in New York, the settlement monitor, Joseph Smith, says his office has received nearly 6,000 consumer complaints about bank services.
These violations include not meeting loan processing deadlines, not informing borrowers of missing documents, and not making loan decisions in the 30-day period mandated by the settlement. The allegations are practically the same complaints made against the banks before the settlement agreement, and they indicate that the big banks aren't holding up their end of the bargain.
The $25 billion settlement may sound like a huge payout, but only a portion of the fund was meant to repay victims of foreclosure fraud. So, someone who lost their home in an illegal foreclosure could end up with as little as $500. And now the banksters aren't even living up the deal. This is why no settlement agreement should have been made.
The big banks should have been broken up, and held accountable for their illegal practices. If too-big-to-fail means too-big-to-jail, then the big banks are too-big-to-exist. No more fines and settlements over fraud – it's time to break up the banks.
Listen to The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL AM 1600. Follow Thom on Twitter @Thom_Harttmann