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Linda A. Watters, pictured here, lost a Supreme Court appeal last month. Why should you care?
Because in turning down her appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that state regulators like Watters, who is commissioner of Michigan’s Office of Financial and Insurance Services, have no say over the mortgage lending of national banks (like Wachovia) and their operating subsidiaries. The ruling in Watters v. Wachovia was a blow to consumer watchdog organizations, which believe that state regulators are tougher on mortgage lending abuses than federal regulators are. But the feds and the nationally chartered banks applaud the ruling, which saves them from getting tangled up in 50 separate jurisdictions. Watters, not one to give up quickly, said she hopes the decision “will spur greater cooperation between state and federal regulators for the benefit of consumers.”
If you want to know more, read this article from stateline.org, a website covering state government.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.