Daily Archives: August 8, 2012

Benjamin And Cynthia Washington: HSBC Debt Collectors Called 14 Times A Day For Months

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says that if a collection company is trying to get you to settle a debt, they can only call you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

And Benjamin and Cynthia Washington say that’s exactly what happened.

Starting as early as 8:05 in the morning, and continuing until as late as 8:55 at night, HSBC’s debt collectors would call the Washingtons about a mortgage contract on their Ohio home, the couple alleges in a complaint filed this week in federal court.

What the Washingtons say happened to them fits with a larger pattern of intrusiveness in the collections industry.


The complaint alleges that the collectors would call the Washingtons seven days a week, sometimes as many as 14 times a day; that the calls were placed from January through March of this year; and that Cynthia Washington experienced so much “stress, anxiety, and depression” as a result that her blood pressure went up and she had to be placed on medication.

“Even the phone ringing, at this point, triggers an emotional and physical reaction with her,” said Doucet.

Read on.


NEW YORK — Katie Diaz arrives at the Bronx County Courthouse hoping for clarity, if not a reprieve from the foreclosure case threatening her home. Five months has passed since she submitted an application to Bank of America seeking lowered mortgage payments. She is eager for a decision -– an approval, a denial or at least a negotiation.

She gets none of these things. Instead, in the course of a perplexing morning spent beneath the dim chandeliers of Courtroom 607, she absorbs a display of the chaos that still besets the nation’s foreclosure proceedings, despite promises of improvement from major banks under a settlement with the Obama administration and state attorneys general.

Diaz, 52, is here for a settlement conference, a face-to-face meeting of lender and borrower mandated under the foreclosure process in New York state. As soon as she sits down at the wooden conference table, an attorney representing Bank of America confirms that she is under review for a loan modification. A few minutes later, the bank lawyer corrects himself: Her case has been closed, he says, because she supposedly never sent required documents. Fifteen minutes after that, he corrects himself again: Her file was never reviewed, because her paperwork has been sitting in the wrong office inside Bank of America.

“This file has just been sitting in a dead corner somewhere?” asks the man presiding over the conference, a court-appointed “referee” Steven Konigsberg. “No one has looked at it?”

Rest here…

Chase CEO Dimon: Placing blame hurts economy

Chase CEO: Placing blame hurts economy.

Look no further than the mirror if you want to know why the economy remains so sluggish, says the CEO of the JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“It’s because of us. We scapegoat each other. We point fingers,” Jamie Dimon said yesterday while visiting with customers of the bank’s Kingsdale office in Upper Arlington, as well as the branch’s current and former employees.

“I actually think the underlying economy is not bad,” Dimon told about 200 people gathered in a tent set up next to the branch.

Consumers and small and large businesses have healthier balance sheets than before the recession, he said.

“I can’t prove it in real time,” Dimon said of his thesis.

But Dimon pointed to last summer’s debate in Washington over raising the debt ceiling and critical comments made of banks and other businesses as examples of how such episodes sap the confidence of consumers and businesses to invest and expand.

“We’ve done it to ourselves,” he said. “I just hope something breaks the back of this political environment.”

Trust starts with truth and ends with truth. Bankers don’t trust their own industry: CISI

Bankers don’t trust their own industry: CISI – FTAdviser.com.

Two thirds (68 per cent) of financial services practitioners retain little or no trust in the UK banking industry following the latest scandals to hit the sector, the survey from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment found.

One quarter (25 per cent) had “zero” confidence in banks and only 2 per cent said they considered the sector to be “totally trustworthy”.

One respondent said the banking sector had been “corrupted” by the need for yearly profit growth at all costs, saying: “enforced integrity and complete transparency is the only solution”.

Another respondent said: “The scandals and greed never stop. We need to see a clean financial services sector with no more FSA fines for the next five years to rebuild trust. Only personal fines for directors and prison for perpetrators can change the fat-cat culture. An embarrassment to all of those who call ourselves bankers.”

However, one person said: “It is important to keep a sense of perspective. A few bad apples should not tarnish an entire industry.”

The bankster roadshow: Chase bank execs take bus tour for Q&A with workers

Ever want to just ask the CEO why your company is still using fax machines when e-mail would work just fine?

Chase employees in Michigan are getting a chance this week to question JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, as part of a corporate roadshow. Todd Maclin and Gordon Smith, co-CEOs of Chase consumer and community banking, are also part of the tour. But the charismatic, outspoken Dimon is clearly the big name.

“He is the bus tour, baby,” Maclin said in a phone interview. “We generally leave these trips with a long list of to-dos.”

Dimon, who flew to northern Michigan, took the bus to tour Chase offices elsewhere. Early Monday afternoon, he met with Chase employees in Grand Rapids. Other stops in Michigan included Petoskey, Kalkaska and East Lansing.

Monday evening, several hundred area banking employees met the Chase executives at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center. This tour also hits Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. About 52,000 Chase employees work in these states. Reporters were not allowed at the event. Chase launched the first tour last summer across former Washington Mutual markets, which are now part of Chase, including Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. The second tour was in February in Miami, Tampa and Orlando.

Read on.

Biloxi Buzz for Wednesday


Voter ID Law Hits Blacks, Latinos Harder In Philly


Public School’s Outrageous Pregnancy Test Mandate


Airline Sued Over Bogus Fees


Report: Teacher Forced Black Kids To Sit In Back Of Room

Very Bad Things Happen When We Depend on the Same People Who Caused the Foreclosure Crisis to Track Its Destruction

Very Bad Things Happen When We Depend on the Same People Who Caused the Foreclosure Crisis to Track Its Destruction.

It’s a simple set of questions: “How many foreclosed properties are there in the country? What zip codes are they in? What factors sent people’s homes underwater?” For policy makers, journalists or anyone trying to size up or address the years-old housing crisis, these questions present the natural place to start. But their answers don’t quite exist.

In Chicago, for example, the city’s official vacant property count, which relies on the banks’ reporting, hovers just under 5,000. The Chicago Tribune estimates 18,000. Housing activists say there are well over 100,000.

Vacant homes in Chicago are so destructive to their neighborhoods and wider communities—dragging down property values, preventing the stabilization of markets and becoming havens for violent crime—that Mayor Emanuel recently announced that the city would spend $4 million finding and demolishing just 200 foreclosed properties.

Foreclosures are happening en masse all over the country, and Chicago is not unique in having absolutely no comprehensive list of in-progress or completed foreclosure properties, hampering any attempts to rehabilitate vacant homes or aid people being hit by the crisis.

Nationally, there is not a single federal agency that has taken the initiative to track foreclosures comprehensively, a massive information gap that prevents the work of journalists, advocates and policymakers alike.