Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bailing out the big banks

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 6:41 AM

I continue to receive mail from lawyers in disbelief that a fiscal session of the Arkansas legislature will be used to bail out big banks (HB 1147) that failed to register to do business in Arkansas and now, on account of a bankruptcy judge's ruling, can't get title insurance on non-judicially foreclosed property.

Says a lawyer suing over the practice and who fears the legislation is an effort at retroactive cleanup:

Fact is the out of state and out of country big banks were on notice of the statute's registration requirement since 2008, and just refused to follow it. Why then should government fix this problem for the big banks? Another bank bailout is now being shuttled through our legislature.

Why, he asks?

Easy question. See two words — "big banks."

Homeowners with upside-down mortgages have no lobby at the legislature.

They can get in line behind the motorists who've ruined cars on roads destroyed by truckers, who'll be handed a $4 million gratuity by this legislature's "budget-only" session.

A sharp legislator this election season could readily see the political possibilities in a roll call where you have J.P. Morgan on one side and a beleaguered Arkansas home owner on the other.

UPDATE: This is shaping up as one of those last-minute interesting debates, if largely behind the scenes. Sen. Michael Lamoreux, the Russellville Republican, drew up the special language that is driving this foreclosure law change. He's said the criticisms I've passed along are largely invalid and he said any loss of secretary of state registration fees will be more than made up by additional foreclosure filings. HOWEVER: He also says the Securities Commission has raised some "valid concerns" and so the legislation remains somewhat in flux.

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