Mortgage Settlement Important Step in Holding Banks Accountable
California Labor Federation Commends AG Harris for Standing Up for State’s Families
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“With the announcement today of the Attorneys General mortgage settlement, we finally see a critical first step in holding the banks accountable for cratering our state’s economy. Not only did the banks collapse the housing market, their irresponsible actions led to millions of workers losing their jobs through no fault of their own. This settlement must be the first step, not the last, in making the banks pay for what they have done to our families and communities.
“The settlement would not have been possible without the principled leadership of California Attorney General Kamala Harris. In the face of enormous pressure from the banks to let them off with a slap on the wrist, Harris stood firm, ensuring that California families received a measure of justice for the devastation the banks wrought. She said no more bank bailouts, no blank checks and no blanket immunity.
“Her courageous stand resulted in significantly more relief for Californians than expected, and helped all the states get a better deal. We commend Harris and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for refusing to sign on to any settlement that let the banks off the hook or prevented investigations from continuing.
“Today’s settlement offers real progress: $26 billion in relief, with $18 billion coming to California families; a new taskforce on mortgage fraud; some important reforms to protect borrowers; and we've preserved the right to go after the banks for their deceptive practices.
“There is no doubt that the settlement amount pales in comparison to the $750 billion in lost home values. California’s unions will continue to work with AG Harris to fight for homeowners and hold the banks accountable.
“We should extend the provisions of the settlement to all banks and make sure the reforms are made permanent. We should also pass legislation to establish basic protections for homeowners, promote principal reduction to restore home values, and rebuild our neighborhoods to revive our economy.
“Our economic recovery hinges on keeping families in their homes and reducing what they owe to the banks. We are one step closer today. The road to accountability starts here.”