Paulson wants state help as court blocks state enforcement? Really?

While Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was speaking, a federal appeals court shut the door to state enforcement of federally charted banks. Now Paulson wants help from the states. What in the world is going on? Didn’t the court render the states powerless to seek documents and enforce predatory lending laws, while Paulson is asking stes for help after the fact? First we blame poor people, then we take no action at the federal level, and now this? American’s are not that stupid and gullible!

Paulson proposed state and local governments should temporarily be allowed to issue tax-exempt bonds to include money for mortgage refinancings. “Given the local nature of housing markets, state and local solutions can be particularly effective,” the secretary said.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a lower courts 2005 decision that barred the New York attorney generals office from subpoenaing documents and instituting enforcement actions against national banks as part of an investigation into lending practices. In an order Tuesday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that the New York attorney generals office had infringed on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currencys role in supervising national banks under the National Bank Act with a probe into possible racially discriminatory practices in residential lending.

The OCC filed a lawsuit against the attorney generals office in June 2005, saying the investigation infringed on its regulatory role. In the lawsuit, the OCC said the attorney generals office had sought public and nonpublic information about the mortgage lending business of four national banks that operate in New York. The banks included units of HSBC Holding PLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. From 2005 until today the OCC took little regulatory action, if any. The OCC needs to take partial responsibility for letting the subprime crisis spiral out of control.

We are filing this little bit of irony in our “Quotable Quotes” section for the time being.