John Carney tells us everything we need to know about why banks are having trouble proving that they own mortgages on the houses they're trying to foreclose upon: mortgage-backed securities were being sold so fast at the height of the housing bubble that financial institutions weren't even bothering to go through the normal steps that ensure it's clear who owns what.

I had one small glimpse of this trying to buy a distressed property from Bank of America. The incompetence was staggering.

The longer, still comprehensible version of Carney's piece is here.

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