The visits had a ritual quality. Three times a year, a coalition of Chicago community groups met with the Federal Reserve and other banking regulators to warn about the growing prevalence of abusive mortgage lending.
They began to present research in 1999 showing that large banking companies including Wells Fargo and Citigroup had created subprime businesses wholly focused on making loans at high interest rates, largely in the black and Hispanic neighborhoods to the south and west of downtown Chicago.
The groups pleaded for regulators to act.
The evidence eventually led Illinois to file suit against Wells Fargo in July for discrimination and other abuses.
But during the years of the housing boom, the pleas failed to move the Fed, the sole federal regulator with authority over the businesses. Under a policy quietly formalized in 1998, the Fed refused to police lenders’ compliance with federal laws protecting borrowers, despite repeated urging by consumer advocates across the country and even by other government agencies.
The hands-off policy, which the Fed reversed earlier this month, created a double standard. Banks and their subprime affiliates made loans under the same laws, but only the banks faced regular federal scrutiny. Under the policy, the Fed did not even investigate consumer complaints against the affiliates.
As always, read the rest of the story at the link above.
So, let me get this straight: The subprime lending crises happened NOT due to a lack of regulation, but due to a lack of investgation by the regulators? Someone should alert Congress, because they on The Hill seem to believe that we need MORE LAWS that will no doubt go unenforced in the future! I bet you already have their phone number, don’t you?