The agreement between the Government and the banks to mitigate the suffering of those with mortgages due to the sharp rise in interest rates represents a radically different approach to that used in the previous crisis in 2012. Ten years ago, the current anti-social legislation was applied to the letter It brought hundreds of thousands of families with their young children to the streets due to minimal defaults on their mortgages. Thousands of evicted are still paying the consequences of those measures. Some are squatting in their own homes, currently in the hands of speculative funds, surviving pending the renewal of successive government moratoriums that prevent expulsion from their homes.
Today we see that the previous crisis could have been resolved in another way. Now reductions of up to 50% of the mortgage installments and deferrals of the same five years are allowed. Now we verify that those sufferings that were presented as irremediable were avoidable. The banks are the same but the governments are very different.
In addition to the enormous human costs, the management of the previous crisis has been the most costly in the European Union. Aid to banks has increased the public deficit by 73,261 million euros, according to the Eurostat update from last October. It is a figure that grows steadily year after year. In 2021 it increased by 1,255 million. The managers of the disaster, Mariano Rajoy and Luis de Guindos, have never explained why things were so different from their forecasts that ensured that “it will not cost the taxpayer a euro.”
The different response to the crisis is due to two reasons: a substantial change in legislation to which social mobilizations and European law have contributed, and a government whose priorities are not limited to saving the banks.
The current measures are based, however, on a new Code of Good Practice (CBP) that was the system used in 2012. The balance sheet has been notoriously poor. According to the XIX Report of the Commission to control its compliance until the end of 2021 of the 133,797 mortgage applications, only 62,526 operations were carried out, 46.7%. Of these, 54,190, have been debt restructurings and only 8,317 daciones en pago and 19 remissions have been accepted.
Lawyer Javier Rubio, from the Center for Counseling and Social Studies (CAES), with a long history defending vulnerable families, argues that the scant impact of the 2012 code “is due to the fact that banks have resisted applying it and have not they have informed their clients of its existence and their rights”. “The current Code,” he adds, “is better because it reduces the imbalance between the bank and the client, which is still very large.”
The key will be in how the new Code will be applied, whose measures are still very timid given the magnitude of the social drama. It must be remembered that in the New Dealthe Roosevelt Government was much more determined with direct aid to the ruined mortgaged, with the Housing Refinancing Law of 1935. The new housing law in Spain should not be delayed any longer.
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