Why Is Edmund Andrews Still Writing About Mortgages?

Reporter Edmund Andrews, who wrote a misleading book about his own personal mortgage crisis, writes a misleading article on a proposed new consumer protection agency that would...help people undergoing mortgage crises.

Reporter Edmund Andrews is again writing about housing- and writing about a proposed government agency that could have helped him during his own housing crisis - on the front page of Wednesday's Business section, "Banks Balk At Agency Meant to Aid Consumers."

Andrews courted controversyin Mayupon the release of his book "Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown,"about his own personal mortgage crisis. But his denunciations of greedy banks left out vital information - his wife's previous two bankruptcies. As financial blogger Felix Salmon argued:

The reason why Andrews should have revealed both bankruptcy filings (not only the second one) is that they're highly relevant to his family's finances, and he's written an entire book about his family's finances.

From Andrews' story on Wednesday:

Banks and mortgage lenders are placing top priority on killing President Obama's proposal to create a new consumer protection agency that would regulate home loans, credit card fees, payday loans and other forms of consumer finance.

The Obama administration fired an opening shot on Tuesday, sending Congress a detailed, 150-page proposal for an agency that would set new standards for ordinary mortgages, restrict or prohibit risky loans, investigate financial institutions and enforce new laws aimed at protecting credit card customers.

"This agency will have only one mission - to protect consumers," said Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, in a written statement on Tuesday.

But industry executives vowed on Tuesday to fight Mr. Obama's plan with everything they have, even though banks are still heavily dependent on many taxpayer-supported loans and loan guarantees to get through the crisis.

"It's going to be a huge fight," said Edward L. Yingling, president of the American Bankers Association. "This agency would have broad powers that go beyond every consumer law that has ever been enacted."

This line probably had some feeling behind it, considering Andrews also faced foreclosure on his home:

Bank executives said they knew they faced a difficult political fight, given the soaring number of homeowners facing foreclosure.

Business Insider's headline over apost by Joe Weisenthal hinted at Andrews' conflict of interest: "Edmund Andrews Reports On Agency That Would Have Saved Him." He doesn't find Andrews' reporting very convincing either:

....we really were befuddled by Edmund Andrews' assertion that killing the proposed consumer protection agency was the "top priority" of the financial services industry.

This is the agency first dreamed up by Elizabeth Warren that would scour the fine print on credit cards and mortgages to make sure that consumers weren't getting totally screwed. Obama wants it to come into existence, and there's a fair chance Warren herself will be its first chief.

Andrews provided no evidence that companies were out to kill this proposal, and we'd be very surprised if they actually did that.