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The 11 Most Bizarre Foreclosure Stories Of 2011

The 11 Most Bizarre Foreclosure Stories Of 2011


HuffPO-

The housing collapse and subsequent foreclosure crisis has claimed the homes of millions of Americans. But that tragedy may only be matched by the absurdity of some of its tales.

As of February, lenders had foreclosed on 2.7 million homes out of the 42.2 million mortgages borrowers took out between 2004 and 2008, according to a recent report by the Center for Responsible Lending. Though many of the foreclosures have been routine, the sheer volume has resulted in some glaring errors and bizarre evictions.

One Florida couple was threatened with foreclosure for making a payment too early. In Texas, a man faced foreclosure on a home that was destroyed by Hurricane Ike years ago, while in Massachusetts, Bank of America threatened to seize a home if it didn’t receive an outstanding mortgage payment worth $0.00.

But there is some indication that these ridiculous stories are indicative of a systematic pattern of wrongdoing on the part of the lenders. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a lawsuit, earlier this week, against five of the biggest mortgage lenders, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citbank and Ally Financial Inc., alleging the lenders used fraudulent paper work to foreclose on “hundreds if not thousands” of Massachusetts homes, BusinessWeek reports.

[HUFFINGTONPOST]

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Secrets of the Bailout, Now Revealed – Gretchen Morgenson

Secrets of the Bailout, Now Revealed – Gretchen Morgenson


I’ve always said if walls could talk in these secretive rooms, look no further than Gretchen to shut it down with a story.

NYT-

A FRESH account emerged last week about the magnitude of financial aid that the Federal Reserve bestowed on big banks during the 2008-09 credit crisis. The report came from Bloomberg News, which had to mount a lengthy legal fight to wrest documents from the Fed that detailed its rescue efforts.

It is dispiriting, of course, that we are still learning about the billions provided to various financial firms during the crisis. Another sad element to this mess is that getting the truth requires the legal firepower of an organization as rich as Bloomberg.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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Cummings Requests Hearing on Secret Government Loans to Rescue Banks

Cummings Requests Hearing on Secret Government Loans to Rescue Banks


New Bloomberg Report Estimates that Banks Reaped $13 Billion from Below-Market Rate Loans

Washington, DC (Nov. 28, 2011) – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa requesting that the Committee hold a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and officials from the nation’s largest financial institutions that benefitted from trillions of dollars in previously undisclosed government loans provided at below-market rates.

“Many Americans are struggling to understand why banks deserve such preferential treatment while millions of homeowners are being denied assistance and are at increasing risk of foreclosure,” said Cummings.

Cummings requested the hearing in light of a report in Bloomberg Markets Magazine that revealed that the Federal Reserve secretly committed more than $7 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the nation’s top financial institutions, and that these banks “reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates.”

According to economists cited in the Bloomberg report, this “secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble.”  The Bloomberg report disclosed that total assets at the largest six banks increased by 39% and executive compensation increased by 20% over the past five years.

According to the Bloomberg report, information about these secret loans was withheld from Congress as it debated reforms ultimately included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, and banks also failed to disclose this information to their shareholders.

The full letter follows:
November 28, 2011

The Honorable Darrell E. Issa
Chairman
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

    I am writing to request that the Committee hold a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and officials from the nation’s largest financial institutions that benefitted from trillions of dollars in previously undisclosed government loans provided at below-market rates.

    In the past, the Oversight Committee has played a prominent role in investigating the actions of government entities and private sector corporations that led to the financial collapse.  On October 23, 2008, for example, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testified before our Committee, stating:  “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organizations, specifically banks and others, was such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders.”

Yet, a report yesterday in Bloomberg Markets Magazine disclosed that the Federal Reserve secretly committed more than $7 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the nation’s top financial institutions.  As a result, the banks that received these loans “reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates.”  This report was based on 29,000 pages of Federal Reserve documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act after a protracted legal dispute.

    According to economists cited in the Bloomberg report, the scope of these previously undisclosed loans resulted in a financial windfall for the banks.  For example, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, stated:  “getting loans at below-market rates during a financial crisis—is quite a gift.”  Similarly, Viral Acharya, an economics professor at New York University, stated:  “Banks don’t give lines of credit to corporations for free.  Why should all these government guarantees and liquidity facilities be for free?”

    The Bloomberg report disclosed that this “secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble.”  According to Federal Reserve data cited in the report, total assets held by the six largest U.S. banks increased 39% from 2006 to 2011.  In addition, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees at these banks received more than $146 billion in compensation in 2010, an increase of nearly 20% from five years earlier.  According to Anil Kashyap, a former Federal Reserve economist, “The pay levels came back so fast at some of these firms that it appeared they really wanted to pretend they hadn’t been bailed out.”

The Bloomberg report explained that Congress lacked access to information about the secret Federal Reserve loans while it debated reforms ultimately included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  For example, former Senator Judd Gregg stated:  “We didn’t know the specifics.”  Similarly, Senator Richard Shelby stated:  “I believe that the Fed should have independence in conducting highly technical monetary policy, but when they are putting taxpayer resources at risk, we need transparency and accountability.”  According to Neil Barofsky, the former Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, “The lack of transparency is not just frustrating; it really blocked accountability.”

When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, it required the Government Accountability Office to “conduct a onetime audit of all loans and other financial assistance” from December 1, 2007, to July 21, 2010.  Although GAO issued its report in July, it analyzed assistance—including mortgage-backed securities purchased through open market operations—with peak outstanding balances of only $3.5 trillion.  Even with respect to these amounts, GAO concluded:

The context for the Federal Reserve System’s management of risk of losses on its loans differed from that for private sector institutions.  In contrast to private banks that seek to maximize profits on their lending activities, the Federal Reserve System stood ready to accept risks that the market participants were not willing to accept to help stabilize markets.

    In addition to withholding information about these loans from Congress, banks also apparently failed to disclose this information to their shareholders.  For example, Kenneth D. Lewis, the Chief Executive Officer of Bank of America, told shareholders on November 26, 2008, that the company was “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.”  According to the Bloomberg report, however, he failed to disclose that “his Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm owed the central bank $86 billion that day.”

    Many Americans are struggling to understand why banks deserve such preferential treatment while millions of homeowners are being denied assistance and are at increasing risk of foreclosure.  Unfortunately, officials from many of these financial institutions declined to comment about these loans, including officials from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley. 

For all of these reasons, I respectfully request that the Committee hold a hearing with the Federal Reserve chairman and officials from each of these financial institutions to examine these issues in greater detail.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

                        Sincerely,

                        Elijah E. Cummings
                        Ranking Member

[ipaper docId=74060982 access_key=key-qgfj6rxm5qliut1229p height=600 width=600 /]

Source: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov

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Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks Undisclosed $13B

Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks Undisclosed $13B


After you read this, come back and read Matt Taibbi’s story: Woman Gets Jail For Food-Stamp Fraud; Wall Street Fraudsters Get Bailouts

See if any of this makes any sense?

 

Bloomberg-

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

[BLOOMBERG]

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BofA, Wells Fargo, Citigroup Left TARP Early To Avoid Restrictions On Executive Pay

BofA, Wells Fargo, Citigroup Left TARP Early To Avoid Restrictions On Executive Pay


Same characters, continuing with rewarded favors.

HuffPo-

In the wake of the financial crisis, a number of the nation’s largest banks were excused from the government’s rescue program before they had returned to a position of complete financial security — in part because they wanted to avoid restrictions on how much their executives would get paid, according to a new report from the program’s government overseer.

Citigroup, Wells Fargo, PNC and Bank of America successfully lobbied to leave the federal bailout program early in 2009, even though the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had recommended they take additional steps to shore up their assets, according to a new report from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Relief Asset Program, a government watchdog office.

[HUFFINGTON POST]

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Federal Bank Regulators Scrutinizing Mortgage Lawsuits Against Banks, Opening New Worry For Investors, Bankers

Federal Bank Regulators Scrutinizing Mortgage Lawsuits Against Banks, Opening New Worry For Investors, Bankers


HuffPO-

WASHINGTON — Federal bank regulators are scrutinizing more than 150 home loan-related lawsuits directed at lenders and mortgage companies, a top official at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation plans to say Thursday, underscoring the threat the largest U.S. banks face from faulty and improper mortgage and foreclosure practices.

The revelation will likely add to large banks’ woes, as the five biggest servicers — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial — currently face up to $30 billion in penalties from state attorneys general and federal agencies for wrongful foreclosures and other mortgage-related misdeeds.

Continue reading [HUFFINGTONPOST]

[ipaper docId=59494826 access_key=key-1lt0129qogynaedlq4lt height=600 width=600 /]

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Bank Of America ‘Significantly Hindered’ Federal Investigation, U.S. Official Says

Bank Of America ‘Significantly Hindered’ Federal Investigation, U.S. Official Says


HuffPO-

Bank of America, the largest U.S. bank by assets, “significantly hindered” a federal investigation into the firm’s faulty foreclosure practices on potentially billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-backed loans, a federal auditor told an Arizona court.

The bank withheld key documents and data, prevented investigators from interviewing bank employees or asking certain questions, and was slow to provide information, according to a June 1 declaration by William W. Nixon, a fraud examiner and assistant regional inspector general for audit for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general’s office.

continue reading [HUFFINGTONPOST]

This is 1 of 2 documents from HuffPO’s story.

[ipaper docId=57804321 access_key=key-288oqfniehj7zxbtze1v height=600 width=600 /]

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Foreclosure Fraud Settlement divides state attorneys general

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement divides state attorneys general


Lets not act surprised in this as we always knew there was something cooking behind the scenes and not everyone agreed and probably disappointed with the approach Tom Miller from Iowa was heading.

WaPO-

As state attorneys general continue their months-long settlement negotiations with the nation’s largest banks over widespread problems in foreclosure practices, they have yet to resolve differences within their own group on key issues.

Even within the 14-member “executive committee” of attorneys general who are leading the 50-state coalition, some have very different visions of what exactly a settlement should look like.

[…]

A handful of crucial states, including California, Illinois and New York, have undertaken their own investigations into mortgage industry practices, subpoenaing information about business practices and seeking meetings with executives about such things as securitization to faulty court affidavits. Other officials, such as in Oklahoma, have threatened to pursue their own settlements with mortgage servicers.


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Foreclosure Fraud Price Tag: $20 Billion

Foreclosure Fraud Price Tag: $20 Billion


HuffPO-

The nation’s largest mortgage companies are operating on the assumption that they will have to pay as much as $20 billion to resolve claims of widespread foreclosure abuse, an amount four times what they had originally proposed, the top federal official overseeing the discussions told state officials Monday, according to people who participated in the conversation.

Associate U.S. Attorney General Tom Perrelli told a bipartisan group of state attorneys general during a conference call that he believes the banks have accepted the realization that a wide-ranging settlement to the months-long probes will cost them much more than the $5 billion offer they floated last month, according to officials with direct knowledge of the call. Perrelli said he’s basing his belief on his recent conversations with representatives of the five targeted firms: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.


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HUD Secretary Donovan, Foreclosure Fraud Settlement to Come in a “Matter of Weeks”

HUD Secretary Donovan, Foreclosure Fraud Settlement to Come in a “Matter of Weeks”


LA Times-

A settlement between a coalition of federal and state agencies and banks over foreclosure practices will come in a “matter of weeks,” Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told the Los Angeles Times.

Donovan’s agency is involved in the negotiations with the banks, along with attorneys general from all 50 states and officials from the Justice Department and other federal agencies.

continue  reading… LA TIMES

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The Fed’s BIG Little $90,000,000,000 Secret

The Fed’s BIG Little $90,000,000,000 Secret


Federal Reserve Lending Revelations Intensify Criticism Of Central Bank’s Secrecy

HuffPO-

In the midst of the global financial crisis in 2008, the Federal Reserve lent Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland at least $30 billion each at interest rates as low as 0.01 percent with no public disclosure of the details, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

The latest revelations about the covert infusions of credit provided by the Fed to some of the world’s largest banks has amplified accusations that the central bank is a power unto itself, operating according to its own devices and in the interest of major financial institutions — and beyond accountability to taxpayers.

“It just points out that this was about secrecy to protect banks basically from embarrassment from transparency, which is not supposed to be what the Fed’s about,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, in Washington.

“That is the fundamental problem with the Fed,” Baker added. “They’re supposed to be an agency of the government, not an agency of the banks. But reflexively, there they are protecting the banks, again and again and again.”

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Partners, Not Regulators: The Federal Reserve’s Role In The Financial Collapse

Partners, Not Regulators: The Federal Reserve’s Role In The Financial Collapse


HuffPO-

This is an adaptation from “Reckless Endangerment”, an exploration of the origins of the recent financial crisis, by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner. The book will be published today by Times Books. This excerpt examines the cozy relationship between Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve and the banks the Fed was charged with regulating. This is the second of three excerpts.

To regulators at the Federal Reserve Board, the financial crisis of 1998 and the collapse of the giant hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management had been an undeniably terrifying event. Officials at the prestigious New York Fed knew how extraordinary it had been for them to help the hedge fund; they were sensitive to the fact that they had aided in a speculator’s rescue and worked hard to downplay their role.


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Robo-Signing Continues On Key Land Records In North Carolina

Robo-Signing Continues On Key Land Records In North Carolina


HuffPO-

When banks were caught improperly signing off on foreclosure documents last fall, consumer advocates and property rights experts hoped the public outcry would force the companies to change their foreclosure processing systems to ensure that meaningful document reviews were conducted and wrongful foreclosures were prevented.

But in at least one county in North Carolina, banks have responded by exploiting a filing loophole that has allowed them to continue signing off on key documents en masse, according to a local official.

Come back and check these two links below…

MERS Signing Agreements /Corporate Resolutions Signed Using Stamps

~

ARE MERS’ SIGNATURES ON DOCUMENTS REAL or SCANNED DUPLICATES?

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Confidential Federal Audits Accuse Five Biggest Mortgage Firms Of Defrauding Taxpayers

Confidential Federal Audits Accuse Five Biggest Mortgage Firms Of Defrauding Taxpayers


Boy does this have loads of Meat…

HuffPO EXCLUSIVE by Shahien Nasiripour

WASHINGTON — A set of confidential federal audits accuse the nation’s five largest mortgage companies of defrauding taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures on homes purchased with government-backed loans, four officials briefed on the findings told The Huffington Post.

The five separate investigations were conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general and examined Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial, the sources said.

[…]

The state of Illinois has begun examining potentially-fraudulent court filings, looking at the role played by a unit of Lender Processing Services. Nevada and Arizona already launched lawsuits against Bank of America. California is keen on launching its own suits, people familiar with the matter say. Delaware sent Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., which runs an electronic registry of mortgages, a subpoena demanding answers to 75 questions. And New York’s top law enforcer, Eric Schneiderman, wants to conduct a complete investigation into all facets of mortgage banking, from fraudulent lending to defective securitization practices to faulty foreclosure documents and illegal home seizures.

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Banks Illegally Foreclosed On Dozens Of Military Borrowers, Federal Investigators Say

Banks Illegally Foreclosed On Dozens Of Military Borrowers, Federal Investigators Say


HUFFPO-

WASHINGTON — Two of the nation’s largest mortgage firms illegally foreclosed on the homes of “almost 50″ active-duty military service members, according to a Thursday report by the Government Accountability Office.

The report does not identify the two mortgage companies. GAO investigators attributed the finding to federal bank regulators, who recently completed a three-month probe into allegations of improper foreclosures carried out by the nation’s 14 largest home loan servicers.

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Jamie Likes It, The New Consumer Bureau That Is

Jamie Likes It, The New Consumer Bureau That Is


We have to question if this has anything to do with the  White House Considering Sarah Raskin or Jennifer Granholm To Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

From NY Times DealBook

Jamie Dimon, it turns out, has a soft spot for the government’s new consumer financial bureau.

“We need to create a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that is effective for both consumers and banks,” Mr. Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said in his April 4 letter to shareholders.

Yes, this is the same Mr. Dimon who last month complained that various new rules facing Wall Street “would damage America.” And it is the same JPMorgan that (unsuccessfully) lobbied lawmakers to kill plans for an independent consumer financial agency.


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White House Considers Sarah Raskin, Jennifer Granholm To Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

White House Considers Sarah Raskin, Jennifer Granholm To Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


(Reuters) – The White House is considering Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Raskin and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to head a new agency charged with protecting consumers of financial products, a source aware of the process said on Tuesday.

The consumer protection body will have broad powers to rein in abuses in the financial industry and was created in response to the aggressive and sometimes predatory lending practices that contributed to one of the worst financial crises in U.S. history in 2007-2009.

However its creation has been tarnished by a months-old logjam over who should head the agency. Law professor Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken consumer advocate and harsh critic of industry practices who had championed the bureau’s establishment, had been a leading candidate to run it but was seen as too confrontational to industry to overcome objections from Senate Republicans.

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GRETCHEN MORGENSON | The Bank Run We Knew So Little About

GRETCHEN MORGENSON | The Bank Run We Knew So Little About


From New York Times

That Aug. 20, Commerzbank of Germany borrowed $350 million at the Fed’s discount window. Two days later, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and the Wachovia Corporation each received $500 million. As collateral for all these loans, the banks put up a total of $213 billion in asset-backed securities, commercial loans and residential mortgages, including second liens.

Thus began the bank run that set off the financial crisis of 2008. But unlike other bank runs, this one was invisible to most Americans.

[…]


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OUTRAGEOUS | Everyone Had A Bailout But Us

OUTRAGEOUS | Everyone Had A Bailout But Us


Federal Reserve Lent To Gaddafi-Owned Bank, European Firms After Fighting Disclosure For 3 Years

From HuffPost’s Shahien Nasiripour

At a time when credit markets shunned even the most worthy borrowers, foreign banks, including one partly-owned by Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, fled to the Federal Reserve and borrowed at rock-bottom interest rates, Fed documents released Thursday show.

During the height of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008, as investors and firms hoarded cash, the Fed reduced its rates to kickstart lending in the broader economy. Arab Banking Corp., a $28 billion lender now 59 percent-owned by Libya’s central bank, borrowed at least $3.2 billion during this time. The Fed charged it an interest rate ranging from 2.25 percent to as low as 1.25 percent on those borrowings, regular Fed data show.

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HuffPO | John Stumpf, Wells Fargo CEO, Pulls In $17.56 Million In 2010

HuffPO | John Stumpf, Wells Fargo CEO, Pulls In $17.56 Million In 2010


From HuffingtonPost:

For the 12 months ended Dec. 31, Stumpf was awarded a salary of $3.24 million, a performance-based stock bonus of $11 million, and a cash bonus of $3.3 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. That compares to a salary of $5.6 million, a stock award of $13.08 million, and zero cash bonus in 2009.

Stumpf’s total compensation of $18.7 million in 2009 made him among the nation’s highest-paid bank CEOs.

Stumpf’s perks totaled $28,531 and included matching contributions to his retirement plan, home security system expenses, a car and a driver.

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Ex-Goldman Banker Behind WSJ ‘Smear Campaign’ Against Elizabeth Warren

Ex-Goldman Banker Behind WSJ ‘Smear Campaign’ Against Elizabeth Warren


[Make sure you catch the audio below]

.

WASHINGTON — A Wall Street Journal editorial writer who has been closely involved with the paper’s recent attacks on Elizabeth Warren is a former Goldman Sachs banker. The same editorial writer, Mary Kissel, is readying another piece critical of Warren and the new consumer agency, according to a source familiar with the coming article.

Like most major newspapers, the Journal does not disclose the authors of its editorials. Kissel recently appeared on the John Batchelor radio show as a representative of the Journal‘s editorial board do discuss Warren, and repeated the main arguments used in the editorials.

Listen to the Audio:

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HuffPO | One Of World’s Largest Banks Warns Of Punishment For Improper Foreclosure Practices In U.S.

HuffPO | One Of World’s Largest Banks Warns Of Punishment For Improper Foreclosure Practices In U.S.


.

HSBC North America Holdings, the nation’s ninth-largest bank by assets, warned investors Monday of impending fines after receiving notice from federal bank regulators admonishing the lender for improper foreclosure practices.

The bank is the latest in a string of large financial companies that have used recent securities filings to prep investors for fines and a significant increase in costs associated with processing mortgages and repossessing homes, after being cited by regulators for deficient and sometimes illegal operations. On Friday, Ally Financial, Wells Fargo & Co., and SunTrust Banks — three of the nation’s 10 largest handlers of home mortgages — said in regulatory documents that they expect to be sanctioned by the U.S. government for their foreclosure practices.

The penalties follow months-long criminal and civil probes by federal and state regulators into lenders’ mortgage practices. Officials said they found significant shortcomings and violations of various state laws. A “small number” of foreclosures should not have occurred, John Walsh, the interim head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal regulator of national banks, told a Senate committee earlier this month after his agency surveyed less than 3,000 out of millions of loan files.

Continue reading… HuffingtonPost

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