Business As Usual

Among the feverish press reports of imminent economic recovery, there are two telling signs that it’s business as usual on Wall Street.

First comes the Treasury’s report Tuesday that less than 10 percent of borrowers eligible for loan restructuring under Obama’s program to stave off foreclosure have received any help.

Why? According to the Washington Post, the big banks just won’t budge:

Under the program, J.P. Morgan Chase has modified 20 percent, or 79,304, of its borrowers who have missed at least two payments. Saxon Mortgage Services, which is owned by Morgan Stanley, has modified 25 percent of its eligible delinquent borrowers. Citigroup has modified 15 percent, or 27,571, of its delinquent borrowers.

But other large banks are lagging. Bank of America has modified 4 percent, or 27,985, of its delinquent borrowers. Wells Fargo has modified 6 percent, or 20,219.

Second, there’s the news that Tim Geithner summoned bank regulators for a secret meeting last week (also reported Wednesday by the Post) to admonish them for resisting a consumer protection agency to regulate banks and credit card companies.

Geithner, apparently, needs to work on his scolding skills. After the meeting, as the Post notes, the wayward regulators then publicly expressed their disapproval of the proposal to Congress:

The nation’s banking regulators are defying pressure from the Obama administration to line up in support of key proposed reforms, testifying… that elements of the plan would actually weaken oversight of the financial industry.