June 25, 2008
Texas Attorney General Urged to Enforce Deceptive Practices Act Against Subprime Mortgage Lenders
Statement of Tom “Smitty” Smith, Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office
Today, attorneys general in Illinois and California sued Countrywide Financial Corp. and Chief Executive Officer Angelo Mozillo, alleging that the company’s deceptive business practices led people to buy homes they couldn’t afford. But while other states take action, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott does nothing.
As the number of Texans losing their homes to foreclosure continues to rise, we wonder how much worse the crisis must grow before it gets Abbott’s attention. Despite the fact that more than 10,000 Texans received foreclosure notices last month – more than Illinois and enough to rank Texas in the top 10 nationally – Abbott just doesn’t get it.
Abbott has dropped the ball on enforcement. The few efforts he made last year to address subprime mortgage lending were ineffective and targeted consumers for the foreclosure boom as much as lenders.
Texas has a deceptive practices act, yet the statute has not been enforced against subprime home lenders. Today’s actions in Illinois and California show that Abbott has the authority to do much more than sit by and watch as thousands of Texans lose their homes each month.
It’s time for Abbott to enforce the law. The citizens of Texas expect nothing less from their attorney general.