"Little Judge" Stands Up For The People, But At What Cost?

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Aug 31, 2009 8:17 AM

Judge Arthur Schack in Brooklyn regularly refuses banks' petitions for foreclosure. He calls himself the "Don Quixote" of the judicial system, because he stands up for the little guy.

I’m a guy from the streets of Brooklyn who happens to become a judge...I see a bank giving a $500,000 mortgage on a building worth $300,000 and the interest rate is 20 percent and I ask questions, what can I tell you?

It's fine and dandy to hold banks accountable for the deals they've made. But what about the homeowner who took out the mortgage? Asymetrical information exists, but anyone wantonly signing a dotted line that makes them responsible for half a million dollars ought to do it with their wits about them. The banks certainly have obligations, and should be held accountable if there are discrepancies in paperwork — which is the primary means by which Schack refuses to grant their petitions for foreclosure. But are signature discrepancies really a good reason to punish banks for performing a deal that is, in the end, initiated by the one paying the mortgage? An unabashed bias against business will only harm consumers interests in the end.

NYT