February 10, 2012
50-State, $25B Mortgage Settlement: Relief for Struggling Homeowners or Bailout for Big Banks?
The U.S. Justice Department has unveiled a record mortgage settlement with the nation’s five largest banks to resolve claims over faulty foreclosures and mortgage practices that have indebted and displaced homeowners and sunk the nation’s economy. While the deal is being described as a $25 billion settlement, the banks will only have to pay out a total of $5 billion in cash between them. We speak to one of the settlement’s most prominent critics, Yves Smith, a longtime financial analyst who runs the popular finance website, "Naked Capitalism." "The settlement, on the surface, does look like it’s helping homeowners," Smith says. "But, in fact, the bigger part that most people don’t recognize is the way it actually helps the banks with mortgages on their own books... The real problem is that this deal is just not going to give that much relief." [Original includes rush transcript]