Friday, May 6, 2016

Trump's New Finance Chair Led a Bank That Made Billions Off Taxpayer Bailouts

Russ Choma, probably the best political researcher going, writes at Mother Jones:
Mnuchin has worked with many of Wall Street's biggest firms, but he is perhaps best known for his leadership in organizing the takeover of IndyMac's failed subprime mortgage business in 2009. Mnuchin organized a team of billionaires to buy the California-based bank's assets from the FDIC after the government insurance fund had taken over the bank. Mnuchin's group paid roughly $1.55 billion and received a promise from the FDIC to cover a portion of the losses on bad loans within the IndyMac pool. The FDIC's losses on these assets have since ballooned to an estimated $13 billion.

The FDIC took on most of the risk, but Mnuchin and his partners, who named their new bank OneWest, ended up doing spectacularly well. They parlayed their $1.55 billion investment into a $3.4 billion payday last year, when Mnuchin engineered the sale of OneWest to another California bank, CIT. Along the way, OneWest issued more than $2 billion worth of dividends to shareholders. The tremendous profits the bank made, with taxpayers on the hook for IndyMac's bad bets, raised eyebrows across the industry....

The bank also was the target of angry homeowners who filed lawsuits around the country that accused the bank of being overly aggressive in foreclosing. In one notable 2009 case that turned into a cause celebre for opponents of predatory loan practices, a Minnesota woman found herself locked out of her mother's house in the middle of a blizzard after OneWest took the house and changed the locks while still in negotiations to refinance the home.

Mnuchin's record seems at odds with Trump's purported populism. When it comes to fundraising, it appears Trump is hardly an unconventional candidate: It's the money that matters.

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