Daily Archives: June 23, 2012

RBS Fair Game for Libor Probe Canadian Regulator Claims

Canadian antitrust regulators are asserting their authority to investigate alleged interest-rate fixing by banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, saying the companies formed an“international cartel.”

The nation’s Competition Bureau asked a judge to quash a challenge to its jurisdiction by RBS, according to documents filed by the bureau this week in Ontario Superior Court. RBS obtained an “interim stay” in February on a court order compelling it to turn over records related to the case.

The bureau is probing the conduct of at least seven firms including Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Citigroup Inc. (C),ICAP Plc (IAP) and RP Martin Holdings Ltd.

Canadian officials are examining whether firms conspired to affect prices on derivatives linked to the Yen London interbank offered rate, according to court documents filed in May 2011. Regulators in the U.S., Europe and Asia also have been probing the case.

Read more from Bloomberg.

Hedgie-ville RE Assoc. Escalates Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Real Estate Blogger

Hedgie-ville RE Assoc. Escalates Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Member/Blogger : The Implode-o-Meter Blog.

A popular Greenwich, CT real estate blogger who runs the site For What It’s Worth is facing some aggressive bullying by the town’s Association of Realtors (the Greenwich Association of Realtors) and the big-money broker firms that sit on its board. This week the blogger, Christopher Fountain, was hauled in by the Greenwich Police after a staff member of the GAR filed a ‘concern for safety’ complaint against him. No charges have been filed, but Fountain was subject to an hour long interrogation interview questioning his alleged intent to harm or harass the GAR.

The outspoken Fountain was a former real estate columnist for the Greenwich Post and currently works for EBTrealty to help home buyers find distressed McMansion deals in a town that’s populated by some Wall Street’s most successful and feared players – the hedge-funders. His blog (FWIW) highlights MLS listings by the GAR and informs the reader of details the association doesn’t really want on the open internet – like how much they’ve dropped the price since first listed. His sharp, often gossipy, commentary has drawn near 9 million readers from around the world and challenges the Polyanna-ish fluff stories both Greenwich newspapers often print about the state of home sales for their bread-and butter-advertisers (‘McMansion’ home ads).

The pissing match between the blogger and his own trade association has taken a bizarre turn though as Fountain says the Greenwich PD let him go quickly after they became aware the complaint was exaggerating — if not lying — about Fountain’s actions. Now he says he plans to file an anti-trust complaint with the Department of Justice against the GAR and will contact the Connecticut Attorney General’s office over what he feels are cartel-like bullying tactics to shut down his independent blog and real estate business.

Tables turn: JPMorgan Chase to pay home loan borrower


Daniel Smiechowski, who bought his Clairemont home at the height of the housing boom, has grappled with his lender for the past two years for a loan modification to reduce payments. The stress almost killed him, he says.

Finally, Smiechowski’s revised loan documents arrived the other day by Fed Ex. As if by magic, an hour later he received a mailed invitation to join in the settlement proceeds of a class-action lawsuit against his lender, JPMorgan Chase. The suit alleges that the financial institution had contacted its mortgage holders on their cellphones without prior permission.

Without admitting guilt, JPMorgan Chase agreed to settle for $7 million to $9 million.

Smiechowski quickly signed on, delighted at the prospect of his lender paying him for a change.

Bank of America: The bank that can’t shoot straight

Written by Biloxi

I wanted to share this Bank of America nightmare story that I received from a friend via email today. My friend attended a conference today where he met a gentleman that this event. And the gentleman shared with my friend his Bank of America nightmare story. And here how the story goes:

The gentleman has a credit card with Bank of America. His balance on his credit card is $25,000 with a $50,000 credit limit. The man uses a lot on his credit card for business use. He always pay his credit bill every month.  He has noticed that he hasn’t received his billing statement. He called Bank of America customer service. He was told not to worry about it that his statement will arrive in his mailbox. A month later, he hasn’t received a billing statement.

He called Bank of America customer service again. Representative told him that his statement should arrive in the mail very soon. Three month gone by,  he received a letter from Bank of America threatening him for being delinquent with his payments. He took Bank of America to civil court.

He had a court appointed attorney, and he brought all evidence including names of customer service representatives that he spoken with about the matter. In addition, he set aside $2,500 for his payments that Bank of America never collected from him. His intention was to resolve the matter with Bank of America and to pay his delinquent account to be current. What happens by Bank of America is beyond laughable.

Bank of America’s original attorney for the case couldn’t make it. So, the bank sent another attorney, female, to represent the case. The judge asked the bank attorney for the man’s account records. The bank attorney provided the man’s account records to the judge. Here comes the problem with Bank of America: the bank provided the wrong account number! When the judge read the man’s account number from the bank attorney’s account records, the man said that it was incorrect. And the man provided his most recent billing account. The judge asked again to the bank attorney whether she was positive that the account information on the account records that she provided were correct. She said yes and that information that she provided to the court is correct.  The judge told her that the case was dismissed and wiped out the man’s entire debt on his credit card! And it gets better.

The man received a call from the Bank of America executive ( the man that he had been trying to get a hold of). The bank executive told him that the bank made a mistake and that they wanted to get the judge to rescind his judgement in favor of the man. The man told the executive that he can’t rescind the judge’s decision because the case is closed. The man still doesn’t know whose account number that the bank attorney had on the account records that she provided to the judge.

Now that story is $25,000 plus bonehead error by Bank of America. Moral to the story: Make sure your paperwork are correctly in order before you go in front of a judge.

Adam Levitin: Eaton v. Fannie Mae Analysis

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court finally issued its long-awaited ruling in Eaton v. Fannie Mae. This case involved the question of whether a “naked mortgagee”–a mortgagee that was not also the holder of the promissory note–had standing to foreclose. (Full disclosure: I submitted a pair of amicus briefs in the case arguing that foreclosure required the mortgage and the note to be united.)

The SJC held that in Massachusetts a foreclosing party must have both the mortgage and the note or be acting on behalf of a party with the note. Critically, however, the SJC restricted the ruling to a prospective application. That means that past foreclosures cannot be reopened because of this case, so the financial services industry just dodged billions in liability for wrongful foreclosures and evictions, and the title insurance industry did as well. (Note that Massachusetts has a public option title insurer–a Torrens system of land registration that covers perhaps a third of the properties in the state. If the whole state were covered, there’d be no problem.)

In the immediate term, I’d score the case as a major victory for the financial services industry, which avoided liability for its failure to comply with state law foreclosure requirements. Going forward, however, things are more complicated.

Read on.

Good News for Colorado – Supreme Court Upholds Ballot Initiative on Foreclosures

The banks were unable to stop Ballot Initiative 84 from moving forward. What is Ballot Initiative 84? Require lenders to prove their right to foreclose. Click here.

Biloxi Buzz for Saturday

Jury Convicts Jerry Sandusky On 45 Of 48 Counts

Bus Monitor Bullies Receive Death Threats

New Facebook Feature Lets You Go Back In Time

Priest Convicted Of Child Endangerment For Hiding Sex Abuse

GM Recalls Almost Half A Million Cars Over Engine Fire

Court: Woman Can Keep The Mortgage Modification Bank Of America Said Was An Error

The Consumerist:

What happens when Bank of America offers a customer a mortgage modification then tries to foreclose on her home anyway? In the case of a New Jersey woman who was paying her mortgage when BofA claimed her modification offer had been an error, a court took her side, allowing her to keep her home.

The appeals court said it was puzzled why the lender would even try to foreclose on the woman, because she “unlike many, is actually paying her mortgage,” reports the Associated Press.

Sylvia made payments on her $591,913 mortgage as part of a loan modification program that Bank of America said she qualified for in March 2010.

Despite her consistent, timely payments, the bank claimed the letter of acceptance into the modification program was an error and that she was never supposed to get a permanent modification.

Too bad, said the court, as to “eventually pull the rug out” after having debtors make payments with the promise of a modification bordered on being “unconscionable.”