Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sleazy Bankers, You’ve Met Your Match

April Charney is an attorney with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. She specializes in defending homeowners against foreclosure proceedings. She has a detailed knowledge of the law as it pertains to contracts, mortgages, debt collections; and she uses this knowledge as a lethal weapon against the slippery banking industry.

This is how she describes the loan officers, appraisers and investment bankers she does battle with: “You ever look into a place where snakes hang out? That’s what I see here. They’re writhing and oozing and morphing into creepy stuff with slime all over it.”

And then she adds: “Not to discredit snakes or anything.”

She’s personally handling almost a hundred foreclosure cases; and on top of that she’s taught about 1,500 other lawyers how to do what she’s doing.

The president of Loan Safe Solutions said: “She is definitely a woman who walks the talk and carries a big stick that will crush those who defy consumer laws.”

And in other news: the party’s over for thousands of loan sharks in the U.S. A division of the Treasury Department — the Office of Thrift Supervision — will be cracking down on some of the sleaziest practices of the credit card industry.

It’s too bad an unelected government agency had to make these changes, but we sure as hell weren’t getting any help from our prostitutes in Congress. They’ve had eight sensuous years of getting fisted by the banking industry; but the S&M-fest is almost over.

Beginning in July of 2010, credit card firms will not be allowed to raise the interest rate on your current balance. And they’ll have to give you at least 45 days notice before making any changes in your account. Currently only 15 days notice is required.

John Reich, the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, said these new rules “will enhance public confidence in financial institutions and establish a level playing field for institutions that want to do business fairly without suffering competitive disadvantages.”

The banking industry is expected to lose $10 billion a year from not being able to continue their slippery extortion tactics. Uh oh, these assholes might have to start working for a living.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Anonymous Bee said...

If the changes don't take effect until 2010, prepared to be screwed 15 ways from Sunday by the Credit Card industry.

Good post, Tom, I didn't know anyone was out there helping homeowners legally, so it's refreshing to see that is the case.

December 19, 2008 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: No doubt the loansharks will be pulling out all the stops between now and July 2010. It'll be like when the bartender says the bar is closing in ten minutes, and all the hardcore drinkers start swilling down as much booze as they can.

December 19, 2008 at 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

What I would like to see is the government telling my bank that they can't charge me two dollars to use an ATM, four dollars to speak to a teller, six dollars to cash a check and eight dollars if I sneeze out of key.

December 20, 2008 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Thomas: But that would be "too much government meddling" if banks aren't allowed to gouge as they see fit. Capitalism only works when there are unlimited taxpayer handouts to corporations, with zero stipulations or strings attached :)

December 20, 2008 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Ya know...These fucks (the banks, that is) claim their interest rates, fees and such are justified by the amount of fraud perpetrated on their poor credit card industry - yet they do absolutely nothing to thwart it.

Something as simple as requiring people show a picture ID at a point of sale would greatly help. They could do the same thing online by requiring some sort of electronic certificate or digital signature. It ain't that hard.

December 21, 2008 at 4:20 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: You're right, they could prevent ID theft and other fraud activities if they wanted to. They'd rather just sit back and let it happen so they have more excuses to gouge everybody.

December 21, 2008 at 6:05 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

The new law is a welcome start, but don't get too warm and fuzzy. For one thing, I heard today that while the credit card co.'s can't raise the rate on your current balance, once you pay what you owe or the card reaches its expiration date, they can drop you.

I've got a really great solution. So great it will probably never be done, but it should be.

Let's make usury illegal again, as it was from New Deal days until President Carter listened to his inner conservative and did away with the federal regulation against it. In short, let the Fed again set maximum credit card and other lending interest rates. High enough the credit card co.'s can make a decent profit, low enough the suckers get an even break.

December 21, 2008 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: I'm all in favor of usury laws. For one thing, there are lots of Biblical quotes prohibiting usury. It would be interesting to introduce this law in Congress and then listen to all the Jesus-spouting Republicans squirming and talking out both sides of their mouths.

December 22, 2008 at 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am hearing numerous radio commercials for Law Firms who will now check your paperwork and look for anything out of line or illegal.

There are more commercials for these guys then the personal injury lawyers.

The Conservatives are going to start hollering for more consumer lawyer (otherwise known as tort) reform


December 22, 2008 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: That sounds like a lucrative law field. And you're right, conservatives will find some reason that these lawyers are sapping the work incentive and threatening the free enterprise system.

December 22, 2008 at 2:41 PM  

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