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Hedge Managers in Cuffs, Home Prices Plunging - What Next?

June 25, 2008

New York, NY — Consumer advocates are pleased at the recent sight of two former New York hedge fund managers in handcuffs for their part in creating the inflated housing market that has led to thousands of foreclosures. One of those consumer groups, the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, says the impact of the mortgage crisis on the rest of the housing market has been substantial, in that all home prices are depressed because of the situation.

The group's founder and executive director, Sarah Ludwig, says it was no secret that bundled sub-prime loans and lucrative Wall Street deals were just a house of cards, a house that is now tumbling down. She says it's appropriate that hedge fund managers are being prosecuted.

"There are an average of 157 new foreclosure filings in New York State every single day, including Saturday and Sunday. Thousands of people are being swept into this crisis. And, it’s not just homeowners actually in foreclosure who are affected, but the equity of entire neighborhoods as well. "

Prosecution is just one step the federal government needs to take, according to Heidi Hynes, with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. She says even more could be accomplished if the Federal Reserve would take the lead in this crisis.

"The Federal Reserve Bank could set a standard for the way to work out payment problems, for helping people threatened with foreclosure stay in their homes. The Fed could set a standard for the way loans ought to be given out in the first place. We’re still waiting for that leadership and we hope it comes soon."

Two former Bear Sterns managers are the highest-ranking Wall Street executives to be charged in connection with the mortgage crisis. They are expected to enter pleas in their federal case next month.

According to a price index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor's, house prices in 20 major U.S. cities dropped a record 15 percent in the past year. NEDAP reports low-income neighborhoods and people of color are the most-impacted.


Michael Clifford/Steve Powers, Public News Service - NY