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Sunday, May 6, 2012

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GMAC strikes back at Massachusetts for prosecutions, suspends state-wide mortgage lending

Go after the banks (GMAC is a bank; new name "Ally" — right), and the banks go after you. This is why we can't have nice things — like Rule of Law.
Think Progress:
This week, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced that she will be suing five major banks for financial crimes that include wrongful foreclosure, in a major victory for the 99 Percent.

Today, one of those financial institutions announced that it would be retaliating against the state of Massachusetts for this lawsuit. GMAC now plans to end most of its lending in the state of Massachusetts, claiming that lending in the state is now “no longer viable“[.]
The writer, Zaid Jilani, then points us to this WSJ article, where the story apparently broke:
GMAC Mortgage, the mortgage lender of Ally Financial Inc., is exiting the vast majority of its lending in Massachusetts a day after the state sued it and other lenders over its allegedly improper foreclosure practices, a decision the state's attorney general called an admission.

The nation's fifth-largest mortgage originator said it "has taken this action because recent developments have led mortgage lending in Massachusetts to no longer be viable."
You'll need a subscription to read the whole thing, but the lead paragraphs are free, and that's all you need to know.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism as a nice analysis:
This move by GMAC, now Ally, is remarkably brazen. GMAC has effectively said that Massachusetts must hew to its demands of how to deal with foreclosures. It announced it is withdrawing from mortgage lending in the state in an effort to bring it to heel.

GMAC may be in a better position to exercise this sort of threat than other banks. Full service banks have broader business lines, so government bodies in the state could retaliate by moving other business (pension funds, cash management, payment services) from them.

This is very similar to the retaliation described in Gretchen Morgenson and Josh Rosner’s Reckless Endangerment, when Georgia had the temerity to try to pass tough lending laws[.]
Her headline:
GMAC Mugs Massachusetts
Let's see if this sticks. It's serious retaliation.

If you want to see what kinds of fraud are involved, try here or here (the underlying crime, not the sudden and cliché-ridden death).

ACTION OPPORTUNITY — Are you a GMAC customer? Care to move your loan? Care to tell them why?

The effect of your action could be similar to the effect of people moving money from Bank of America over the recent debit card fees. If other banks don't follow, GMAC is holding the bag. If they do follow, the gates are open for more retaliation.

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