Were the Banks Complicit in the Mortgage Fraud?
Shares of Washington Mutual tumbled a little over 17 percent today as a result of a probe initiated by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Subpoenas were issued today by Cuomo to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two large government-sponsored mortgage investors, to investigate mortgages that they purchased from Washington Mutual. Cuomo alleged that Washington Mutual pressured a major real estate company to inflate home appraisals. The New York Attorney General stated, “Our expanding investigation into the mortgage industry has uncovered that Washington Mutual improperly pressured appraisers to provide inflated values that best served the lender’s interest. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cannot afford to continue buying Washington Mutual mortgages unless they are sure these loans are based on reliable and independent appraisals.”
This puts a whole new spin on the mortgage fraud fiasco. Everyone has been saying for months that banks were unaware that they were being defrauded. The wool was pulled over their heads, so to speak. This may not have been the case after all. In fact, they may have been pulling the wool over someone else’s head and running them into a wall. Ouch!
If these allegations turn out to be true then Washington Mutual will be in a world of pain. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will no longer buy their mortgage loans which will leave Washington Mutual with no other choice but to leave these loans on their books. Not a good scenario.