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Mnuchin To Congress: I’m Not The ‘King Of Foreclosures’

Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin faced a tough hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday when he was grilled about his days a banker. Mnuchin was the head of OneWest Bank, one of the leading providers of mortgages that became unsustainable after the 2008 economic meltdown and led to many foreclosures.

“I take great offense to anybody that calls me the foreclosure king,” Mnuchin said during a testy exchange with Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison during a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

Ellison pressed Mnuchin on whether under his leadership, OneWest engaged in a practice known as “robosigning” in which mortgage papers were signed without examination and without making sure the lenders understood the financial liability they are taking on. He confronted Mnuchin with a 2009 testimony of the bank’s vice president in which she admitted not spending more than 30 seconds on each mortgage request and not having the papers notarized.

“I don’t think you know what robosigning is,” Mnuchin shot back at Ellison.

When later asked by Rep. Maxine Waters to apologize to Ellison, Mnuchin refused, saying that robosigning was not a legal term and that Ellison has “harassed” him with his questioning.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

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