On The Money with Peter Hebert

July 31, 2010

Ready to Fight Back Against the Establishment?

Filed under: Commentary — Peter Hebert @ 8:49 AM

July 23, 2010

Wall Street Reform Bill Passes Amidst Widespread Media Diversion

Filed under: Commentary — Peter Hebert @ 4:14 AM

President Barack Obama signed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington D.C. on July 21, 2010. The 2,300 page bill has 16 titles and 383,000 words. The purpose of the bill, according to lawmakers, is to “hold Wall Street accountable” – “so that it would never happen again.” The majority of the nation, however, does not believe that. The new law has 533 new regulations that will in the immediate term end in anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty for individuals and the nation’s many small, struggling businesses.

Congressional leaders from the House of Representatives and the Senate were anxious for the bill’s passage. Introduced as H.R. 4173 on December 2, 2009 by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), the House Financial Services Chairman, and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), the Senate Banking Committee Chairman, the reform bill was hoped to avert another collapse of the financial sector and the national economy – “so that it would never happen again.” The Senate passed the bill with a final 60 to 39 vote on July 15 and was reported as the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010.

Passage of the bill into law preempted the relevance and findings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. The 10-member commission met 15 days between September 17, 2009 and July 1, 2010. The commission’s chair Phil Angelides is scheduled to report the causes of the financial crisis to the White House, Congress, and the American people on December 15, 2010. The purpose of Angelides’ report is to provide input on corrective legislation as the Pecora Commission’s Ferdinand Pecora said during the Great Depression – “so that it would never happen again.” The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission served as a diversionary side show for public consumption via C-Span while the real work on financial reform took place between K Street and Capitol Hill. Among the many sensationalistic media-driven diversions that further deflected public attention away from finance and the economy was “negro phobia” in America, the anticipated lesbian prison gang rape of Lindsay Lohan, and the apocalypse in the Gulf of Mexico.

There are many good provisions in the bill. The best aspect of the bill is the provision to permit the free market to work and allow mismanaged financial firms to fail rather than risk tax payer money and bloat the federal deficit. President Obama said,

“Because of this law, the American people will never be asked again to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.”

The nation has heard it too many times – “so that it would never happen again.” The President’s assuring remarks did nothing to avert the Tea Party’s sight set on November’s mid-term elections. Individuals in the Tea Party found common ground as a result of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout that caused the Panic of 2008. That resulted in nationwide fear and anger that has not subsided.

The Federal Reserve’s expanded role in the Wall Street reform bill, however, is not one of the bill’s good provisions since the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is embedded in the agency that also has obligations to its shareholder banks to maximize profits. Title XIV, or the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, reiterates an existing array of regulations while claiming to legally define predatory lending practices and characteristics. This title does not legally define predatory lending, but it takes steps in the right direction. For example, this title states that an arbitration provision or any other nonjudicial alternative is prohibited in settling any claim that stems from a mortgage loan application. That is good. But, this title only warns homeowners of foreclosure rescue scams to be on the alert while not further deterring scammers with increased penalties. Finally, this title does not prohibit loan servicers from continuing usage of ambiguous and one-sided loan modification contracts with terms that present no financial benefit or relief to borrowers other than providing shelter.

The shareholders of the Federal Reserve are the same too big to fail banks that crashed both the national and global economy. Moreover, nothing was done to address the too big to fail banks by cutting them down to size. Instead, they remain zombie banks, drags on the real economy, and impediments to consumer and mortgage lending.

Washington, D.C. area businesses will not be positively impacted since the city is not a financial center. It is a legislative and administrative center, and the bill expands the role of administrative oversight over the economy. The real beneficiary of the sausage mill called the legislative process is the K Street corridor of public relations and law firms, high-end restaurants like Morton’s, and the underground high-end sex industry that from time-to-time makes it into the newspapers to then tarnish the reputations of the nation’s elected representatives.

The mainstream media as well as the many think tanks in Washington, D.C. for the most part rendered banal assessments of the Wall Street reform bill with the exception of FOX News. Glenn Beck, true to form, called it a “crap sandwich.” In an interview with Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT), Beck and Hatch affirmed their belief that Obama was dangerous for the country and that the bill held Wall Street, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac harmless.

Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Federation of America, and the American Association of Retired Persons supported the bill. National Association of Federal Credit Unions and the American Bankers Association opposed the bill. Only 37 percent of those polled on OpenCongress.org, a bill tracking website, approved of the reform bill. A stunning 72 percent of readers of The Wall Street Journal, gave the bill either a grade of a D or an F. That stiff opposition was due to readership alignment with financial sector interests. An Associated Press poll revealed that 64 percent of the general population was not confident that the new bill would prevent another financial and economic meltdown. That no confidence vote is at a minimum due to the nation’s too big to fail banks and no audit provision of the Federal Reserve.

The bill will do absolutely nothing for new home construction, which is a crucial economic indicator and benchmark for economic recovery. In the Washington, D.C. area as in any other area the construction and sale of one new home produces about 40,000 jobs. The actual unemployment rate for the nation remains over 16 percent. Many of the nations’s unemployed worked in different aspects of the housing industry.

Sources included: Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, The White House, House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, OpenCongress.org, GovTrak.us, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, MoneyNews.com, CBS News, Associated Press, FOX News, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, Washington Times, Center for American Progress, and Center for Responsible Lending.

July 19, 2010

The Wall Street Reform Bill

Filed under: Legislation and Regulation — Peter Hebert @ 4:41 PM

Dear President Obama,

The Wall Street reform bill with 90 percent of what you had hoped for is missing the most important 10 percent. I’ve reviewed the first 1,000 pages and I was stunned. I do not see this bill as a compromise in order to work with both parties and opposing interests. This bill is a sell out to the Federal Reserve. The next time I hear hail to the chief, I will know it is meant for the Federal Reserve’s governor. Please, do not sign the bill. Wait until AFTER the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has made its report. And, do not permit the Federal Reserve to Control the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection – that should be an independent agency, and it should have a healthy adversarial relationship with the Federal Reserve and the financial sector. Finally, there is still no law that defines predatory lending. Phil Gramm would be proud of your oversight and inaction on the primary reason that collapsed the financial sector. Gramm, after all was the primary culprit that had blocked an attempt at legally defining predatory lending. Please, Mr. President do not sign this bill. The facts will come out, the American public will more fully come to understand this bill over time, and I predict you will be remembered as another Woodrow Wilson who penned words of regret in his memoirs.

Peter Hébert
Publisher and author of Mortgaged and Armed

July 7, 2010

Mortgaged and Armed: Available NOW in electronic book edition on Amazon.com

Filed under: Legislation and Regulation — Peter Hebert @ 3:33 AM


Contact Information
Peter Hébert
Publisher and Author
Freedom House Press
(301) 509-7674

Mortgaged and Armed: a key to understanding mortgage industry tactics
Available NOW in electronic book edition on Amazon.com

July 6, 2010

Peter Hébert and Freedom House Press are pleased to announce the release of Mortgaged and Armeda timely book thatdismantles mortgage finance and lays out an action plan to turn the tables on the mortgage lending industry. This consumer-oriented manifesto will empower households and real estate investors to regain and maintain control when going toe-to-toe with any financial institution.

The electronic edition of the book is now available to download at www.Amazon.com. The title can be found by typing Mortgaged and Armed in Amazon’s search bar. Kindle software, an Amazon.com book reader, is a free download for Mac users and PC users. It’s even available free for the iPod, iPad, the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android. Electronic book readers have never had more options and flexibility. (Kindle is also available as a free download through Apple’s online Application Store). The electronic edition is $9.95.

Hébert said, “Mortgaged and Armed is a take no prisoners approach for home buyers, investors, refinance applicants, and loan modification applicants to fight back. The mortgage lending business within the financial sector has lost the right to have the respect of the American people, and it needs to radically change its business practices. Since Congress is slow to act in any meaningful financial regulation to protect consumers, the American people must take several steps to protect themselves. Mortgaged and Armed is more than a book on financial literacy. It is a preemptive self defense manual.”

Hébert dispels the myths, disinformation, and misinformation concerning mortgage finance and securitization. He refutes the dominant narrative led by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that there are “toxic assets” and real estate is to blame that is parroted by the mainstream and financial media. Those “toxic assets” are made up of fraudulently originated loans with predatory features not designed to sustain homeownership that were securitized and sold to pension funds. Predatory securitization and finance are to blame for the financial and economic crisis.

Mortgaged and Armed will become available on Amazon.com as a 6” by 9” paperback in late July or early August 2010. Mortgaged and Armed was written without acronyms to make the book readable and intelligible for the average reader. The 370-page book includes a glossary, references, end notes, and an index. The main text is 242-pages in length. The book’s 58-page glossary is packed with real estate, mortgage, financial, and economic terms written in plain English to equip anyone to have the leg up on the typical mortgage lender or loan modification specialist in a call center. There is an extensive 18-page section of end notes with the author’s personal comments in addition to citations. The book’s 14-page reference section is broken down by category that distinguishes between sources like “personal communications” and “research studies.” The book’s 10-page index was developed to enable readers to quickly drill down to the key points of interest. The retail cost of the paperback will be $19.95.

What Others Have Said
Industry: “Most people got a mortgage during the mortgage boom and housing bubble years. Most were badly advised and wish they hadn’t gotten the mortgage they did. Mortgaged and Armed provides enough mortgage fundamentals so no one will repeat their mistakes. The bursting of the housing bubble is the biggest financial fiasco since the Great Depression and deserves to be studied. Peter Hébert was on the front lines during this period and tells many first-hand accounts of what happened. These stories are humorous, sad, insightful, and unforgettable.” ~ David Olson, founder and president of Wholesale Mortgage Access & Consulting, Inc.

Capitol Hill: “From its nuts-and-bolts definitions of mortgage industry terms to its heart-breaking stories about consumers who were railroaded into financial ruin, Mortgaged and Armed gives consumers the information they need to navigate a market that’s often stacked against them.” ~ Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Illinois)

Academic: “The quality of your research shows that you have accomplished your objective in an exemplary manner. Once again, your topic is timely and very important. I am sure it will make a great contribution to the field.” ~ Dr. Richard Broacato, Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland

“Peter’s work on Mortgaged and Armed was nothing short of amazing! It’s such a complex industry. In this very thorough and well-researched book, he has taken the mortgage industry and literally turned it upside down. The comments on Countrywide reads like the book Whistle Blower – you are whistle blowing on the entire industry. I highly recommend Peter and his book Mortgaged and Armed to anyone looking to school himself on the industry.” ~ Cynthia Maubert, Professor of Marketing, Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland

About the Author
Peter Hébert has a Masters of Business Administration degree in finance and marketing from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was the keynote speaker for his MBA graduating class at Mount St. Mary’s University on its 200th anniversary. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and history from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. Hébert has over 20 years experience in residential mortgage lending; residential property management and leasing; commercial and residential real estate marketing and sales; and secondary market experience in due diligence, commercial loan servicing, multi-family loan registrations, and residential loss mitigation. Hébert is a communicator and educator at heart with a passion in taking complex concepts and distilling them so that they are easily understandable for those with an in interest in better understanding. He has experience teaching corporate finance as an adjunct business professor. He has designed and taught several state approved continuing education courses to licensed real estate agents and loan officers. His professional experience includes working with attorneys, plaintiffs, and defendants as a litigation consultant and as an expert witness.

About the Publisher
Freedom House Press is a specialty publisher focused on non fiction titles. The mission of Freedom House Press is to present reliable books with verifiable information that cut through the panoply of misinformation and disinformation. It is in that spirit that Mortgaged and Armed is released. Other titles like Predator Nation and Architects Behind the Crisis are in the pipeline for release in 2010 and 2011. Freedom House Press has special arrangements in place for printing, online fulfillment, wholesale distribution, and retail sales at book stores. More information about the publisher can be obtained at www.FreedomHousePress.com.


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