01-23-2020  9:18 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Controversial Washington Lawmaker Spreads Views Across West

Republican Rep. Matt Shea was suspended from the Republican caucus in the wake of a December report that found he was involved in anti-government activities and several lawmakers have called on him to resign, something he says he will not do

2020 Census Begins in Remote Toksook Bay, Alaska

Census takers begin counting remainder of 220 remote Alaska villages as part of national headcount

St. Andrew Parish Presents 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

The awards are given to people whose service embodies the values of Dr. King, who used nonviolence, civil disobedience, and Christian teaching to advance the cause of civil rights in America

The Skanner in Step With Changing Times

Celebrating a history of service

NEWS BRIEFS

Shari's Restaurants Celebrate National Pie Day

Receive a free slice of pie with any entrée purchase at participating Shari's locations from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan....

Nashville Airport Store Seeks Works by African American Authors

The store, a namesake project of Mrs. Rosetta Miller-Perry and The Tennessee Tribune, will open March 2020 ...

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Luncheon Celebrating Students, Community & Civic Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, Chair of Oregon Investment Council & Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust....

Grant High School Students to Read Their Own Work at Broadway Books

Local author and writing instructor Joanna Rose will lead thegroup of young writers at the event to be held on Wednesday, January 22 ...

AG Rosenblum Announces $4 Million Settlement with CenturyLink

Since 2014, Oregon DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about CenturyLink ...

Man convicted of murder in mother's death escapes custody

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon resident who was convicted of murder in the death of his mother in her Eugene home in 2004 has escaped from the supervision of the Psychiatric Security Review Board, officials said.The Register-Guard reports the review board sent a notice Thursday asking for the...

Coalition of states sue over rules governing 3D-printed guns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a federal regulation that could allow blueprints for making guns on 3D printers to be posted on the internet. New York Attorney General Tish James, who helped lead the coalition...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Plea change set in African American church fire case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A suspect set for trial next month in a series of fires at African American churches in Louisiana is now scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing. Holden Matthews has pleaded not guilty to federal charges arising from the arson fires at south Louisiana churches. However, a...

Veteran accuses bank of discrimination for not taking checks

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area bank that suspected fraud and refused to cash ,000 in checks from a black Air Force veteran said Thursday that it mishandled the incident and should not have called police.Sauntore Thomas attempted to deposit checks from the settlement of a...

Texas high school bars student who won't cut dreadlocks

MONT BELVIEU, Texas (AP) — A black Texas high school student won't be allowed to return to school or attend his graduation ceremony unless he cuts his dreadlocks, his family says.Deandre Arnold, a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu in Southeast Texas, has had dreadlocks for...

ENTERTAINMENT

'NewsHour' host and debate moderator Jim Lehrer dies at 85

NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Lehrer, longtime host of the nightly PBS “NewsHour” whose serious, sober demeanor made him the choice to moderate 11 presidential debates between 1988 and 2012, has died, PBS said Thursday. He was 85.Lehrer died “peacefully in his sleep,”...

Brittany Howard looks past and forward ahead of the Grammys

NEW YORK (AP) — Leaving a successful band is never easy. For Brittany Howard, stepping away from the roots-rockers Alabama Shakes wasn't easy — but it was necessary.“Being on my own was really important to me creatively. It was a really big risk and it was a really big...

Review: Um, what? 'The Turning' is a muddled take on madness

It's really not a good sign when a movie ends with a bold, shocking flourish and much of the audience can be heard muttering through the credits: “Wait, um ... WHAT?”Not, “Ooh” or “Wow” or “Hmm" or "Interesting!” Nope, this is more like an...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

'NewsHour' host and debate moderator Jim Lehrer dies at 85

NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Lehrer, longtime host of the nightly PBS “NewsHour” whose serious, sober...

Over 100 state lawmakers accused of misconduct in 3 years

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — State lawmakers across the U.S. have reached a troubling milestone for...

Questions linger over investigation into Jeff Bezos' hacking

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Cybersecurity experts said Thursday there were still many unanswered...

For hippo Fiona's 3rd birthday, zoo seeks aid for Australia

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Zoo is using the third birthday of its beloved hippo, born premature, as a...

Questions linger over investigation into Jeff Bezos' hacking

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Cybersecurity experts said Thursday there were still many unanswered...

Spain-Venezuela encounter by tarmac unleashes speculation

MADRID (AP) — A secretive meeting this week by the tarmac of Madrid's international airport between two...

McMenamins
Charlene Crowell NNPA Columnist

Mike Calhoun, president of CRL



Fix or Evict, the Center for Responsible Lending's latest in a series of research reports on mortgage lending and foreclosures, reaches eye-opening conclusions in its ongoing scrutiny of America's still-unfolding foreclosure crisis.  It's no secret that banks and other loan servicers are harming struggling homeowners by pushing unnecessary foreclosure.  Now, this research shows that banks are also acting directly against the best interests of loan investors – the companies that own the loans including pension funds and life insurance companies. 

Most importantly, the report found that the lending industry's poor track record on loan modifications cannot be blamed on homeowners who re-default.

"It's well documented how mortgage servicers' unfair, shoddy practices have hurt homeowners," said Mike Calhoun, president of CRL.  "This research shows that servicers also routinely give the investment community a raw deal." 

At present, families facing eviction outnumber those with a modification by a 12-1 margin. Updated statistics show that residential mortgage foreclosures are on track to reach 13 million by the end of 2014 at a cost of nearly $1 trillion in direct losses to families, local governments, and financial institutions. When CRL factored in the lost value to homes in close proximity of foreclosures, $1.9 trillion in losses will be stripped away by 2012. 

From CRL's perspective, it is time for the banks to accept the consequences for the hundreds of billions of dollars in damages that have been inflicted on the nation.  It was the lack of accountability by banks that is so disturbing when the public bailed them out. Before any foreclosure is allowed to proceed, there needs to be full disclosure for homeowners and investors to ensure that every loan got a good look from the servicer. Further, the current loan servicing investigation by the nation's attorneys general must result in remedies to reform an industry that perpetuated the crisis. Let's not forget that this crisis began with foreclosures and spread to the rest of the economy.

Findings from Fix or Evict? also corroborate recent data from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which showed how four out of five households that received HAMP modifications are still current on their mortgages.  Unlike many short-term loan repairs that occur outside the HAMP program, HAMP loan modifications are most likely to involve reducing the homeowner's monthly payment – and this is the type of modification that is likely to be the most successful.

It is amid this growing body of objective analyses that some from the investment side are questioning the low number of modifications as well.

"The misalignment of economic interests between the owners of mortgages and those who service them is the single reason why the mortgage problem has become a crisis and a massive economic drain on this country", said Bill Frey, president of Greenwich Financial Services and a longtime investor advocate. 

"Servicers have been allowed to follow their own voluntary loan modification program", said CRL's Calhoun, "and the result has gone against the best interests of everyone but the servicers themselves.  We need mandatory reforms that ensure servicers follow the law and act in the best interests of their clients – that would end up benefiting everyone."  

Perhaps if investors with deep pockets could align themselves with the people whose pockets have been picked, we could have a real and sustainable recovery.  Sure, it would be an odd couple alignment. But, maybe after so many losses, it's the one that could make the true difference.

 

Charlene Crowell is the Center for Responsible Lending's communications manager for state policy and outreach.

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