Monday, April 28, 2008

Hypocrisy From Obama? Bank On It

Barack Obama has been blaming bankers for causing a lot of the current economic slowdown. Well, guess who Obama has in charge of his campaign finances? Penny Pritzker, former Chairwoman of a failed bank that burned 1,400 customers.
One of the banks that went under after making a lot of subprime loans -- leaving 1,400 of its customers without part of their savings -- was Chicago's Superior Bank.

At the helm of Superior Bank at least some of the time was Obama's national finance chairwoman, Penny Pritzker, an heiress to the Pritzker fortune.
Obama's campaign excuses all that as being long ago and far away, just like all those pesky Jeremiah Wright sermons he never heard and his ring-kissing of terror pal William Ayers.
Obama's campaign notes that Pritzker stepped down as chairwoman of the bank's board in 1994, seven years before it failed. She then went on the board of the bank's holding company.
However, it appears that Pritzker later took a much more active role.
But a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that until the end, Pritzker appeared to be taking a leadership role in trying to revive the bank with an expanded push into subprime loans.

Pritzker wrote in May 2001 that her family was recapitalizing the bank, and she pledged to "once again restore Superior's leadership position in subprime lending." The bank shut down in July 2001.
So, how much did the Pritzker's make out of this deal?
The Pritzkers put up $460 million, which federal regulators said absolved them of any further liability in the collapse.

That's less than the $645 million the Pritzkers got to take the thrift, Ely and Anderson note.
By my math, that's a $185 million gross profit. But not everbody made out quite so well in the deal.
They still owe me $113,000," said Fran Sweet, 63, of Downers Grove, who deposited her $480,000 retirement account at Superior a month before it collapsed. "To the Pritzkers, this is nothing. They probably think, 'Why pay her back?' That's nothing. But we're all upset that someone who made these decisions could be in that position.
Yet Obama still calls himself the candidate for change.

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