Subject: From a retired Banker on the current fiasco!!! WORTH THE
READ…no matter who you favor for President–


Written by Jack Kelly
Thursday, 18 September 2008

Lending money to people who probably won’t pay it back isn’t good
Business. If you wrap crummy loans in a clever package, they’re still
crummy loans.

Your typical Wal Mart shopper understands this. But the Masters of the
Universe on Wall Street and in Washington evidently didn’t.

Ostensibly to aid the poor, the Clinton administration and Congress
Encouraged lenders to give mortgages to poor credit risks. The
Combination of easy money and the expansion of the number of borrowers
By extending loans to poor credit risks sent housing prices through the
roof, creating the bubble whose bursting has led to this crisis.
Congress in 1999 repealed the law (the Glass-Steagall Act) that
established a bright line between commercial and investment banks.
This meant bad investments by banks could jeopardize depositors.
Wall Street created ‘derivatives’ which multiplied profits in good
times, but which also multiplied risk if there were defaults.

Most important was corruption and mismanagement at the Federal National
Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage
corporation (Freddie Mac), which together controlled 90 percent of the
secondary mortgage market.

Once your bank has lent you money to buy a house, it can’t lend the
money again until you pay it back. But if your bank sells your
mortgage, it can make another loan right away. Without the secondary
market, most of the funds for home mortgages would dry up.

Fannie and Freddie went broke because they had bought billions of
dollars worth of subprime mortgages, on which borrowers defaulted when
the housing bubble popped. Fannie bought most of its bad mortgages from
Countrywide Financial, whose CEO, Angelo Mozilo, gave sweetheart loans
to senior executives of Fannie Mae.

Fannie and Freddie cooked their books so senior executives would be
paid millions of dollars in bonuses to which they were not entitled.
Inadequate regulation kept the book-cooking from being discovered
until the crisis had become a catastrophe.

President Bush proposed regulatory reforms in 2003 but Congress took
no action. In 2005, John McCain and three other GOP senators proposed
a strong reform bill. It died when Democrats threatened a
When the bill was reintroduced in this Congress, Sen. Chris Dodd, the
New Democratic chairman of Banking Committee, refused even to hold a
hearing on it.

Democrats opposed reform in part because they feared it would mean
fewer loans to poor people.

‘Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not facing any kind of financial
Crisis,’ Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass, told the New York Times when the
Bush bill was introduced. ‘The more pressure there is on these
Companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.’

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