There's no doubt that sloppiness, laziness, greed and just plain fraud and bad ethics in the mortgage industry were a big part of what got us into this mess.
House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank has apparently figured this out, and has some plans to put a stop to it. The New York Posthas some details on what some of Frank's proposals might be:
Make it illegal for mortgage brokers and lenders to steer borrowers into higher-risk, exotic products in pursuit of the higher commissions that these loans generate.
Hold mortgage originators and underwriters accountable for bad loans.
Make the company that bundles mortgages into CDOs and MBSs responsible for the first losses on derivatives.
It's good to finally see some emphasis being placed on cleaning up the real estate lending industry for the long-term. With so much emphasis on foreclosure prevention and bailouts, there's been little talk about long-term systemic changes to prevent this kind of mess.
Of course lending standards are very tight right now, but markets have a pretty short memory and without regulation designed to rein in the screwing of naive of consumers, housing bubble part 2, second verse same as the verse, will be an inevitability.