Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) testified today before his former colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee to highlight the work being done to help Marylanders recover from predatory lending practices that were directed at this state and others. His full statement can be found here.
“The wounds are raw and real. There is still so much more that we can do. Working across agencies, Maryland has developed a comprehensive strategy that includes legal and regulatory reforms, as well as housing counseling and legal assistance networks. They are making a difference. … Our policies can save people’s homes, can save families, and communities.
“The banks protected themselves by shifting the risks of nonpayment to investors, and make a profit in the process. These practices triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And today, many economists blame the anemic housing market as the biggest drag on our economy,” Senator Cardin said in his remarks to the committee.
The height of the irresponsible lending practices was from 2004 to 2008. According to the Justice Department, the greater Washington area, including suburbs in my home state of Maryland, ranked among Countrywide’s top 10 targets. In Prince George’s County, the most affluent majority-black county in the United States, these types of loans have had a devastating effect. Many of the victims are honest, hardworking, responsible people that bought homes to raise their families, to pursue their dreams, and make memories. And now they are trapped in a nightmare where they can’t refinance their homes to make them more affordable, or worse, are in serious risk of foreclosure.