It’s business as usual in Washington. Trump promised to drain the swamp. Instead, he is busy populating it with Goldman Sachs vampire squids. On this edition of The Geopolitical Report, we take a look at the outsized influence of the notorious global investment banking firm, its ability to navigate both Democrat and Republican administrations, and its disastrous effect on the economy as it socializes risk and pockets billions in profits. Trump has put out the welcome mat for the Wall Street predatory class, dashing any hope the Glass-Steagall Act will be brought back to save the American people from the criminal behavior of the vampire squid with its tentacles wrapped around the face of humanity.
Feb. 09, 2012
It’s no surprise that student loan debt is a major concern. Federal and private student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time in 2010 and is expected to hit $1 trillion this year. At the same time as college graduates are experiencing record-high debt, they are offered little opportunity to get back on track. “There’s no way to diffuse the bomb if the status quo stays the same,” NACBA Vice President John Rao said in a press call with reporters.
Which is why the group is calling on Congress to pass legislation that would allow graduates to discharge loans they took out from private lenders, including for-profit companies like banks and student loan giant Sallie Mae. Similar legislation has been submitted over the past two years by Democrats without making much progress, but nevertheless, NACBA is hoping this year will be different.
Changing the nation’s bankruptcy code wouldn’t just give the group of lawyers more work, it would offer an option for students to get rid of debt that, at its core, is not really any different from other types of debt that the government does allow borrowers to discharge. “It’s kind of strange that credit cards are dischargeable when private student loans aren’t,” said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of the financial aid websites, Fastweb.com andFinAid.org. “They should be treated the same.”
They used to be. Before 1976, all education loans were dischargeable in bankruptcy. That year, the bankruptcy code was altered so loans made by the government or a non-profit college or university could not be discharged during the first five years of repayment. They could, however, be discharged if they had been in repayment for five years or if the borrower experienced “undue hardship.” Then, the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 made it so all private student loans were excepted from discharge too.
Two decades of further tweaks to the bankruptcy code ensued until 2005, when Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which made it so that no student loan — federal or private — could be discharged in bankruptcy unless the borrower can prove repaying the loan would cause “undue hardship,” a condition that is incredibly difficult to demonstrate unless the person has a severe disability. That essentially lumps student loan debt in with child support and criminal fines — other types of debt that can’t be discharged.
Johnson Controls won’t say how much it paid its chief executive for 11 of the months he ran the publicly traded company last fiscal year, taking advantage of a loophole in pay-disclosure regulations.
Alex Molinaroli, who has been CEO of Johnson Controls since 2013 and an employee since 1983, received $46.4 million in compensation from Sept. 2 to Sept. 30, according to documents recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The documents omit what he made for the rest of the company’s fiscal year.
Johnson Controls Inc. merged with Tyco International PLC on Sept. 2, creating a conglomerate renamed Johnson Controls International PLC that sells everything from smoke alarms to car doors.
The SEC doesn’t require a company to disclose what its top executives were paid by a firm before it disappears or becomes a subsidiary in a merger.
“SEC rules do not call for the company to file additional information about Mr. Molinaroli’s compensation before the merger with Tyco, which we did not,” spokesman Fraser Engerman wrote in an email. “All SEC guidelines were followed in the formation of our proxy.”
Even as the economy continues to improve, student loan borrowers are still struggling to cope with their debts, a new analysis indicates.
Roughly 1.1. million borrowers entered default on their Direct Loans, a type of federal student loan, last year, about the same as the previous year, according to an analysis of publicly available government student loan data by Rohit Chopra, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federal of America, a network of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups. Overall, there were 4.2 million borrowers in default in 2016, up 17% from 3.6 million the year before, as some borrowers exited default while others remained in the red.
The analysis likely underestimates the number of federal student loan borrowers in default as it doesn’t account for borrowers who are in default on types of federal student loans other than Direct Loans.
Experian, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting bureaus, misled consumers by telling them that the credit scores they purchased from the company were the same ones that lenders used to make credit decisions, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday.
And for that deception, the CFPB is fining Experian $3 million.
According to the CFPB, Experian developed its own proprietary credit scoring model, which it calls the “PLUS Score.” Experian then took that “PLUS Score” and applied it to information in consumer credit files to generate a credit score it offered directly to consumers.
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Germany’s state-owned development bank KfW, which gained publicity for erroneously transferring hundreds of millions of euros to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. the day the U.S. firm filed for bankruptcy, has done it again.
KfW in February mistakenly transferred more than 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) to four banks because of a technical glitch that repeated single payments multiple times, according to people familiar with the matter. The total amount transferred was as high as about 6 billion euros, said one of the people, who like the others asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
“KfW has detected the system’s incorrect behavior very early in the process, immediately mitigated the unwanted action and started the necessary process of analyzing the causes,” the bank said in an emailed statement. “The mistake was rapidly identified and eliminated, and the amounts overpaid were successfully demanded back. We regret that during works on the systems, this incident could happen due to human error owing to a configuration mistake.”
TRENTON, N.J. (CN) – Fired in the wake of Wells Fargo’s mortgage-kickback scandal, nine former staffers claim in court that the supervisors who instructed the illegal activity kept their jobs.
The lawsuit in Mercer County Superior Court comes just over two years after Wells Fargo paid $35.7 million to settle charges by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Regulators said that Wells Fargo’s loan officers were accepting cash and other kickbacks in exchange for referrals from General Title, a realty title insurance company that shuttered in 2014.
Led by Egg Harbor resident Jeffrey Bellak, nine former Wells Fargo home-mortgage consultants from that era say the kickback practices were standard operating procedure, and that Wells Fargo switched to a new title company in 2013.
“Having paid an enormous fine for its illicit ‘leads’ arrangement with Genuine Title, and having pledged as part of the settlement to desist, Wells simply discontinued its relations with Genuine and substituted Patriot Land Title,” the March 6 complaint states.
Bellak and the other fired officers say Wells Fargo chose them randomly as sacrificial lambs a few months after settling with the CFPB.
“In order to create for the CFPB the false appearance of having pursued a true internal investigation, resulting in the removal of all personnel responsible for the prior violations, [Wells Fargo] arbitrarily selected the plaintiffs for termination,” the lawsuit states.