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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 25, 2010 at 10:15 AM

The Ben Show: Fed’s mortgage oversight has gotta be a comedy, right?

Hahahahahahahahah. This guy is killing me!

My favorite sitcom has a nice Jewish boy from South Carolina, Ben Bernanke, living in the big city as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Kind of like Seinfeld, except the stakes are really, really high. In the latest episode, Ben gave a speech today at a Fed-sponsored housing finance conference. As Bank of America and many other mortgage lenders slipped on bananas of bad mortgage paperwork, further wrecking the housing market and raising the possibility of even deeper swindles out there, Ben said (I love this guy!):

“We have been concerned about reported irregularities in foreclosure practices at a number of large financial institutions.” Then, holding in perfect tempo for the laugh track, he added: “We take violations of proper procedures seriously.”

(Pause while blogger stops choking on laughter). We take violations of proper procedures seriously. Seriously? This is the same Fed and same chairman that watched — and pumped the easy credit — while the biggest pot of swindles in the history of the world was cooked in mortgage boiler rooms, places like WaMu and other big banks, and then sold on Wall Street for huge profits. When it all blew up, it nearly brought down the financial system. Now the Fed is serious about “proper procedures”?

Well, if you want to read about the central bank’s efforts to help the foreclosure crisis for average Americans, click here. The markets are certainly taking the promise of a Fed probe into the mortgage paperwork fraud seriously. The Dow is rising. Bank of America stock is down a little more than 2 percent as I write.

If the banksters need to fear anything, it’s the state attorneys general that they haven’t been able to buy off or capture through lobbying. But back to the show. My favorite line was when Ben said, straight-faced, “Homeownership is only good for families and communities if it can be sustained.” It brought down the house.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Home sales lift Wall Street

That’s what the headlines intone

Try QE hot cash

Comments | More in Federal Reserve, Great Recession, Housing

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