In a column published on TheStreet.com, Cramer insists he was ‘not being facetious,’ noting that Wells Fargo boasts a $1.8 trillion portfolio and encompasses more than one-quarter of the nation's mortgage originations. He also commends the bank for lowering its total delinquency and foreclosure rates for residential mortgages while addressing the needs of distressed borrowers.
‘Aside from the fact that it is hard to imagine anyone doing worse than the government, think about the way Wells has gone about getting this rate down,’ Cramer says. ‘First, it created 40 workshops and 27 home preservation centers. We can sneer at these as window dressing, but consider that these helped put into place 716,000 active trial or completed mortgage modifications, which, judging by the aggregate numbers, can't have nearly the recidivist rate that the government's programs have had.
‘Further,’ he adds, ‘Wells has forgiven $4 billion of principal with its tattered 'Pick-a-Pay' portfolio of little-to-no-money-down loans that it inherited from Wachovia. One-third of the total loans in that portfolio have been modified.’
Cramer adds that outsourcing federal housing programs is not a unique solution, since the U.S. government has a tradition of similar operations.
‘I am sure there are plenty of people out there who think this is all fanciful,’ he continues. ‘But this government outsources many of the military functions, for heaven's sake, and that involves lives, not money. Wells could do a better job, and this crisis, which remains at the heart of the American recovery problem, could at least be considered on the right track after so many botched attempts to get it right.’