The Bank Terrorist

The Bank Terrorist

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Housing: For years, a self-described “bank terrorist” blackmailed banks into making bad home loans in our inner cities. Now those loans are defaulting by the millions, and he’s blaming banks.


Read More: Business & Regulation


 

Bruce Marks, founder of the leftist Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, makes a good living shaking down banks for loans to deadbeat borrowers that he thinks are entitled to homes.

Activist Bruce Marks, speaking in February at a housing conference, has a history of terrorizing banks until they make questionable home loans.

Activist Bruce Marks, speaking in February at a housing conference, has a history of terrorizing banks until they make questionable home loans.

Last month, he and about 100 urban protesters stormed Fannie Mae’s headquarters, demanding it stop foreclosures on subprime houses — the same homes his group pressured Fannie to fund.

As usual, the bullying tactics worked: Fannie Mae is now reviewing every foreclosure, while increasing the number of mortgages it restructures by lowering interest rates and extending loan terms to make payments more affordable. The government-backed firm guarantees some 30% of the nation’s outstanding mortgages.

Marks founded Boston-based NACA last decade to fulfill his warped sense of the American dream. He thinks owning a home is a right, not a goal. And he thinks every American should have a house — even those who can’t pay for one.

Marks, who proudly calls himself a bank terrorist, has extorted billions of dollars from Citigroup and other large banks to subsidize uncreditworthy borrowers in the inner city, where he accused the banks of “redlining.”

In 2004, for example, he threatened to blow up a merger deal between Bank of America and Fleet Bank by complaining to regulators that the banks weren’t making enough loans to minorities under the Community Reinvestment Act. The banks, in turn, paid him off with $6 billion in mortgage commitments.

The nonprofit NACA uses such ransom money to fund its own mortgages to high-risk borrowers without requiring down payments or good credit. Marks considers such underwriting requirements “patronizing and racist.”

He boasts that 99% of the mortgage applications taken through NACA are approved, giving new meaning to the term “easy lending.” Listen to NACA’s pitch:

“Come to NACA, and regardless of how bad your credit is, regardless of how little you have saved, we will work with you for as long as it takes, until you are prepared for a mortgage better than what the wealthiest, most connected borrowers get.”

These are the standards NACA and ACORN and other bank terrorists foisted on the banking industry, using as their cudgel the Community Reinvestment Act, which mandates (under threat of severe penalty) that banks make inner-city loans to people who can’t afford them. Now these groups have the nerve to demonize the banks for the inevitable foreclosures.

How many of NACA’s borrowers default on NACA’s own loans? We don’t know. Marks won’t disclose his internal data.

But by the end of the last decade, 8% of the mortgages NACA had arranged through Fleet Bank were delinquent, compared with the national average of 1.9%

Congress’ banking committee chiefs, Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank, are also demanding banks stop foreclosures. And guess who they’ve invited to testify about that? That’s right: Marks, who has proposed stopping all resets on subprime adjustable mortgages and allowing late payments for up to 90 days.

Marks insists that regulators “force” lenders to restructure their loans to prevent foreclosures from going forward.

“For noncooperative lenders,” he says, “the regulators can and must impose ‘cease and desist’ orders.”

For future underwriting practices, Marks urges lenders to adopt the NACA model.

“NACA has done lending the right way,” he says. “No down payment. No closing costs. No fees. No perfect credit. At a below-market fixed rate.”

And no repayment or profit. Call it Marksism.

The UnFairness Doctrine–>What Exactly Does Obama Want To Hide?

The UnFairness Doctrine–>What Exactly Does Obama Want To Hide?

It makes one wonder, we are in the middle of what the President-elect called the worst financial crisis since the great depression, we are fighting a war against Islamic terror on at least two fronts and our National Security agencies are warning about a terrorist threat on the US homeland during the transition period. And Obama and his democrats are worried about shutting up people like Rush Limbaugh. It makes one wonder, just what exactly is Obama trying to hide?

The Obama Fairness Doctrine By Bethany Stotts November 18, 2008

Is there something about his policies that Obama doesn’t want us to know?

Just three days after the election, a Brookings Institution leader issued a memo to President-elect Barack Obama asking him to restore the Fairness Doctrine. The Vice-president of Governance Studies at Brookings, Darrell West argues that the Fairness Doctrine would help restore journalistic ethics and fulfill the media’s mission to educate the populace.

In the first of twelve memos to President Obama which will be issued over the next eight months, West argues that the incoming chief executive needs to “Restore the Media Fairness Doctrine and Requirements for Television Public Affairs Broadcasting.” West writes,

“At present, television and radio—on which Americans depend heavily for news and information—generally do not produce or promote thoughtful or deliberative discussions. The idea behind media regulation in the 1980s was that satellite technologies and cable television would allow for the presentation of diverse viewpoints…That approach has proved largely ineffective” (emphasis added).

“With profits falling, traditional media sources too often produce little substantive information and fail to give citizens adequate information about their government,” he argues. “America needs a marketplace of ideas equal to the policy challenges.”

It is ironic that West would promote a doctrine shown to water down free speech in the name of “a marketplace of ideas.” As Accuracy in Media has documented, the Fairness Doctrine had a significant “chilling” effect on news outlets, promoting self-censorship by broadcasters wary of government regulation.

It is not for nothing that the doctrine has been labeled by some as a “Hush Rush” law.

However, the new president-elect is unlikely to favor a return of the Fairness Doctrine, per se. In June 2008, Obama press secretary Michael Ortiz told Broadcasting & Cable that “Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters.”

This issue serves as a “distraction” for the Obama campaign from more important policy reforms like media ownership and diversity, Ortiz argued. “[Obama] considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible,” B&C’s John Eggerton quotes Ortiz. “That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets.”

As AIM has documented, witnesses at last November’s hearing by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on “Localism, Diversity, and Media Ownership” proposed measures which would stifle free speech and talk radio without instituting equal time requirements. Frank Blethen, CEO of the Seattle Times, told the Senators last November that they should

  • “keep all current FCC ownership restrictions and public service mandates;”
  • “craft new FCC mandates to ensure internet freedom;”
  • “institute a ban on cross-ownership of national print and national broadcast outlets as a companion to the local cross-ownership ban;” and
  • “push for limits on newspaper ownership.”

AIM editor Cliff Kincaid warned that the Senate committee hearing could spark a renewed push for the Fairness Doctrine, especially since two committee members were John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, strong advocates for the return of the doctrine.

A study released by the Center for American Progress (CAP) last summer argued that talk radio suffers from a “structural imbalance” that favors conservatives. Their remedies: promote localism and minority ownership, and fine broadcasters who aren’t in compliance.

John Podesta, the President and CEO of CAP, is Barack Obama’s transition co-chair, one of three top positions within his transition team.

In a 2004 symposium, Podesta outlined his views on what he sees as having gone wrong with the media:

“We’re here because we understand that the media as it’s owned and organized today bears only the faintest resemblance to that Jeffersonian vision. We’re here because instead of being an uplifting force of enlightenment, media conglomerates today are sometimes the exact opposite.”

Media outlets, that is, like Clear Channel and “Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.” “What would they [the Founders] think of the fact that even though Americans have more TV channels than ever to choose from, three-quarters of us are seeing content that’s generated by only 5 different media companies?,” queried Podesta. “And what would any of them say of a broadcaster whose influence is so great, but journalist ethics are so feeble, that 48% of its viewers believe a war was justified because of an event that never occurred?” (emphasis added).

Statements like these make it clear that Podesta, along with CAP, intend to muzzle conservative expression—especially within the talk-radio market, which they have argued favors conservatives because of this “structural imbalance.”

Columnist Michelle Malkin, a Reed Irvine Award recipient, called CAP’s proposals a “Hugo Chavez approach to the radio airwaves.”

Barack Obama has shown that he considers key portions of Blethen’s and CAP’s proposals a priority when regulating the media. His presidential agenda to “ensure the full and free exchange of ideas through an open internet and diverse media outlets” hinges on four points:

  • protecting the “openness of the internet” through net neutrality;
  • encouraging “diversity in media ownership;”
  • protecting children “while preserving the first amendment;” and
  • “safeguard our right to privacy”

“Barack Obama believes that the nation’s rules ensuring diversity of media ownership are critical to the public interest,” stated the web page on November 7. “Unfortunately, over the past several years the Federal Communications Commission has promoted the concept of consolidation over diversity.”

“As president, Obama will encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum.”

The CAP study found that “markets that air both conservative and progressive programming are statistically more likely to have female- and minority-owned stations in the market, and are significantly less concentrated than the markets that air only one type of programming” (emphasis original).

In his agenda, as found on November 7, Obama also committed himself to creating a government with “a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens.” But citizens who visit the change.gov website were unlikely to see what America’s future president intended for the media over the last week—because the content was taken down. A new, abbreviated version, was recently reposted on http://www.change.gov.

In the interim, the website had an agenda of two paragraphs, forcing those searching for information to retrieve the agenda through independent archives. It is unclear at this point how much of the agenda has been changed. This merely adds to a long history of statements in which our future president either denies inconvenient truths, or scrubs his website to remove misleading statements.

Lynn Woolley, writing for AIM, recently commented that “The Fairness Doctrine is going to make a comeback, and the only thing that might stop it is the American people.”

Is there something about his policies that Obama doesn’t want us to know?”

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