BANKER ARROGANCE CHASTISED IN COURT

If you ever wondered why America needs three branches of government, check out the gumption that some officials in the judicial branch are showing.
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
BANKER ARROGANCE CHASTISED IN COURT
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If you ever wondered why America needs three branches of government, check out the gumption that some officials in the judicial branch are showing.

While the executive and legislative branches have sided with the giant banks against millions of hard-hit homeowners, several judges have been standing up to banker arrogance on behalf of regular folks. Take Judge Randolph Haines, a U.S. bankruptcy judge based in Phoenix, who has had the temerity to challenge Wells Fargo.

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This banking powerhouse, which has taken $25 billion in bailout money from us taxpayers, has been notoriously imperious in dealing with its own customers. In a case before Judge Haines, the bank had callously dilly-dallied with the urgent efforts of an out-of-work single mom to keep from losing her home. For months, she had been seeking a loan modification from Wells Fargo, but the bank kept losing her application. “I submitted the paperwork three times,” she said, “and nothing happened.”

Meanwhile, she was forced to file for bankruptcy – ending up in Haines’ court. Frustrated by this bank’s pattern of indifference toward powerless people, Haines summoned one of Wells Fargo’s top executives to his his courtroom to answer the complaints of this lowly borrower. The mighty executive, of course, blamed the borrower, claiming she had failed repeatedly to provide a financial worksheet as requested.

However, at Judge Haines’ suggestion, the borrower handed a letter to the Wells Fargo chieftain that she had received from the bank, asking him to read it. The chagrined banker had to concede that “[she] is right. The letter did not ask for a financial worksheet.” He then added, “Customer communications is something we’re taking a look at, your honor.”

They might also look at things like basic competence and honesty. Who knows what’ll come of this little courtroom comeuppance, but at least someone in authority is not afraid to confront these BSing big shots.

“Judges’ Frustration Grows with Mortgage Servicers,” www.nytimes.com, September 4, 2009.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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