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Cummings Calls for Testimony and Documents from Mortgage Bank CEOs

Jan 23, 2012
Press Release
Letter Documents Committee’s Effort to Protect Banks While Attacking New Consumer Protection Agency

Washington, DC (Jan. 23, 2012) – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa renewing his requests to call top executives from the nation’s biggest mortgage banks to testify and issue subpoenas for documents relating to widespread foreclosure abuses.  Cummings’ letter documents the contrast between the Committee’s lax investigation of mortgage servicing companies to date and its aggressive scrutiny of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

“Rather than using its substantial investigative powers to protect American consumers from the abuses of banks, the Committee has focused instead on attacking the new agency created by Congress to protect these same consumers,” Cummings wrote.

As Cummings’ letter noted, in its first full year of investigations this Congress, the Committee held 118 hearings with 342 witnesses, but not a single bank executive was called to testify on the foreclosure crisis.  In contrast, the letter noted that tomorrow the Committee will hold its third hearing with officials from the CFPB.

Cummings’ letter also highlighted that in 2011, the Committee issued more than 200 detailed document requests and subpoenas, but none sought documents relating to wrongful foreclosures or abusive lending practices.  The only exception was a joint document request to Bank of America, which has not produced a single responsive document.  In contrast, the Committee has received hundreds of pages of documents in response to detailed document requests regarding unfounded allegations that CFPB acted outside its authority in providing advice during negotiations toward a possible settlement with mortgage servicing companies relating to foreclosure abuses.

“Based on the witnesses the Committee has called and the documents it has requested so far this Congress, it appears that the Committee is more interested in protecting powerful banks than vulnerable American consumers,” Cummings wrote.  “I do not believe these priorities reflect the best interests of the American public.  Given the extent of the foreclosure crisis and the harm it has caused our constituents, I sincerely hope we can work together to reverse this trend in the coming year.”

Below is the full letter:

January 23, 2012

The Honorable Darrell E. Issa
Chairman
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

     At the outset of the 112th Congress, the Oversight Committee unanimously adopted an oversight plan that included a proposal I offered to “examine the foreclosure crisis including wrongful foreclosures and other abuses by mortgage servicing companies.”  Although the Committee has taken some preliminary steps to examine these issues, to date it has failed to conduct a full, fair, or thorough investigation of the widespread abuses committed by mortgage servicing companies against American families, particularly military servicemembers. 

     In its first full year of investigations this Congress, the Committee held 118 hearings with 342 witnesses, but not a single bank executive was called to testify on the foreclosure crisis, despite multiple requests from me and other Committee Members.  In addition, in 2011, the Committee issued more than 200 detailed document requests and subpoenas, but none sought documents relating to wrongful foreclosures or abusive lending practices.  The only exception was a document request you and I sent jointly to Bank of America, but it has not produced a single responsive document, and the Committee has taken no action to compel production. 

     Rather than using its substantial investigative powers to protect American consumers from the abuses of banks, the Committee has focused instead on attacking the new agency created by Congress to protect these same consumers.  Tomorrow, the Committee will hold its third hearing with officials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  In addition, the Committee has received hundreds of pages of documents in response to a detailed document request you sent in June 2011, as well as numerous questions for the record after Committee hearings, regarding allegations that CFPB acted outside its authority in providing advice during negotiations toward a possible settlement with mortgage servicing companies relating to foreclosure abuses.

112th Congress