More Must Be Done to Stop Foreclosures

Foreclosure filings were at historic highs in March -- 367,056 --
an increase of nearly 19 percent from the previous month, and the
highest monthly total since 2005, according to RealtyTrac. Almost
two years after the onset of the financial crisis with unemployment at
historic highs, nothing is being done to put a stop to this on-going

Today, the Real Economy Project of the Center for Media and Democracy
(CMD) released an update of our Wall
Street Bailout accounting
that unlike other bailout assessments
includes Federal Reserve loans. CMD finds that the Federal Reserve, the
U.S. Treasury and FDIC combined have disbursed a total of $4.7 trillion
on the bailout of which $2 trillion is still outstanding.

This month, CMD took a closer look at the housing issue. Our
assessment also shows that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury
have disbursed $1.6 trillion in an effort to prop up the mortgage
investment market through purchases of mortgage-backed securities and
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt. The majority of this money was from the
Federal Reserve and was not subject to Congressional debate or

Yet, at the same time, the U.S. Treasury Department has spent a small
fraction of this amount, $90 million, on the Home Affordable
Modification Program (HAMP). HAMP is the only Congressionally-authorized
program that is actively spending money and designed to prevent

$90 million is a pittance in the face of the foreclosure onslaught,
(the program is authorized for much more), but these funds are being
subject to strict scrutiny by the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel,
headed by Elizabeth Warren. Her latest
document the abject failure of this program to stem the
crisis. As of February 2010, only 168,708 homeowners have received
final, five-year loan modifications - a small fraction of the 6 million
borrowers who are presently 60+ days delinquent on their loans.

More must be done to stop the daily tragedy of American families
losing their homes. $1.6 trillion has gone out the door with little
discussion or debate on Capitol Hill. Congress should give the Federal
Reserve funds the same level of scrutiny that HAMP has received and
consider attaching some strings to these funds to force banks to do more
to assist American households. With 30 million Americans still
unemployed or underemployed, housing experts and policymakers need to go
back to square one on this issue to figure out how to best aid
homeowners and devastated communities for the long run.

The Senate also needs to move on Federal Reserve transparency and
accountability. Our Wall Street Bailout accounting illustrates that the
bailout it still underway and it underscores the need for a full and
public audit of the Federal Reserve and all of its programs. The Senate
financial reform package includes an extremely limited audit of the
Federal Reserve, which withholds key information from the public for
extended periods of time. An amendment will be offered to the Senate
bill to apply the more robust Ron Paul-Alan Grayson audit language from
the House financial reform bill.

Learn more about the 35 programs included in CMD's bailout tally by
visiting our Total Wall Street Bailout Cost Table, which contains
links to pages on each bailout program with details including the
current balance sheet for each program. CMD also publishes a Financial
Crisis Tracker
, a widget for the table that can be downloaded to
websites to get up-to-date numbers on the financial crisis and the

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