OCC's Dugan: NY Governor 'Wrong' on Predatory Lenders
Responding to a scathing editorial last week by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer that claimed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency hamstrung state-led efforts at mortgage industry reform in the early 1990s, the OCC's John Dugan had harsh words of his own for the former state attorney general. "Almost everyone who has paid attention to the subprime lending crisis has concluded that OCC-regulated national banks were not the problem," Dugan said. "Instead, the worst abuses came from loans originated by state-licensed mortgage brokers and lenders that are exclusively the responsibility of state regulators." Saying that Spitzer's inflammatory comments were "just plain wrong," Dugan said his office has protected the national banking system from predatory abuses. "Predatory mortgage lenders have avoided national banks like the plague," he said. Dugan said that, contrary to Spitzer's assertions otherwise, the OCC's efforts to ensure federal regulation of the national banking system did not prevent the former NY AG or other state AGs from pursuing state-level regulation. "It defies logic to argue that preemption was an impediment," Dugan argued. "The states should have applied equally rigorous standards to the non-bank lenders."