Friday, October 09, 2009

the giant hole

What this argument leaves out is Fannie and Freddie. The evil and greedy bankers (curiously intent on making loans that could not be repaid) were able to sell these loans to Fannie and Freddie. If there had not been these quasi-governmental corporations backing them they would not have been making loans and they would never have been capitalized. It may be true that there was a "giant hole" in the safety net, but the truck that drove through it was financed by the government's own creatures.

University of Michigan Law Professor Michael Barr, a specialist in banking and finance law, flatly rejected claims that the CRA was "a significant factor in the current crisis. CRA was enacted more than 30 years ago. It would be quite odd if this 30-year old law suddenly caused an explosion in bad subprime loans from 2002-2007....Subprime mortgages were mostly made by mortgage brokers and lenders and securitized by investment banks -- institutions not covered by CRA," he told the Huffington Post, adding, "CRA only covers banks and thrifts, and these institutions mostly have not suffered to the same extent or kind from bad lending as the non-CRA-covered institutions at the core of the current crisis. The problem here is not CRA. It is what the late former Fed Governor Ned Gramlich called 'the giant hole in the supervisory safety net' -- bad lending by firms outside the banking sector's rules for prudential supervision, capital requirements, consumer protection and yes, the CRA."

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