Daily Archives: September 24, 2012

Libor Scandal Shows Need for EU Market-Abuse Law Including Jail Time By The End Of The Year: Barnier

European Union lawmakers should enact tougher punishments for market abusers, including jail time, by the end of the year in response to the Libor scandal, the bloc’s financial-services chief said.

A culture of banks rigging interest-rate benchmarks shows the importance of an agreement on tougher market-abuse rules, Michel Barnier told a panel of EU lawmakers in Brussels today. EU regulators are also investigating possible breaches in cartel rules from both banks and brokers in the setting of Libor, Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, said in his testimony to the European Parliament.

“The only thing that’s not possible is self-regulation or the status quo,” Barnier said.

Read on.

The last patrol Camden, NJ: America’s deadliest city disbands police force and fires 270 cops over budget crisis

 

 

This city, long among the nation’s poorest and most crime-ridden, is on the verge of dismantling its police department and starting anew with a force run by the county government.

City officials are making the move to increase the number of officers while keeping the cost the same by averting rules negotiated with a union that city officials have seen as unwilling to compromise.

Unless the union – which is skeptical of the stated motivations for the change – reaches a deal with the county, no more than 49 per cent of the city’s current officers could join the new force and those that do will get pay cuts.

John Wilson, a 57-year-old unemployed baker who’s lived in the city his whole life, thinks it’s worth a try.

‘The police in Camden clearly haven’t been doing their job,’ he said last week as he walked to his home in the Parkside neighborhood, which has seen six homicides since the start of 2011.

‘Any change has to be better. It can’t get worse now.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2207690/Americas-deadliest-city-Camden-New-Jersey-disbands-police-force-fires-270-cops-budget-crisis.html#ixzz27PnHMwMd

Ohio borrowers offered foreclosure remedy payouts

The Ohio Attorney General is mailing letters to nearly 65,000 mortgage borrowers in his state, offering direct payouts from the national foreclosure settlement struck in March.

Eligible borrowers must have received a foreclosure between 2008 and 2011 from servicers involved in the $25 billion settlement: Bank of America ($9.140.03%)JPMorgan Chase ($41.27 0.39%)Wells Fargo ($35.15 0.18%),Citigroup ($33.42 -0.25%) or GMAC Mortgage.

Borrowers do not have to prove financial harm or give up their rights to pursue their own lawsuit against their servicer for past abuses.

Read on.

Also,

Foreclosure settlement claim forms out in Rhode Island http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode-island/2012/09/24/foreclosure-settlement-claim-forms-out/Fq8j9DkGuWBZkc6KWF4j6K/story.html

 

Fresh penalty imposed on Citigroup: Settle charges for breaching position limits on wheat futures trading, bank will pay $525,000

Citigroup Inc. (C – Analyst Report) has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In order to settle charges for breaching position limits on wheat futures trading, Citigroup will pay $525,000, according to media sources.

The allegations are associated with the long positions held by Citigroup in 2009, which surpassed the caps imposed on such trades. These trades took place on the Chicago Board of Trade, a unit of CME Group Inc. (CME – Analyst Report).

This penalty, imposed by The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), comes just a couple of weeks before the implementation of the new limits on the trading of natural gas, wheat and certain other items under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Read on.

State AGs Probe Card Debt Sales (Video)

A group of state attorneys general is looking at the possibility that banks have sold credit card accounts to debt collection firms that were supported by inaccurate and robo-signed documents.

On a side note: reporters said that state AGs spoke with Chase’s employees in  San Antonio Texas and Frederick, Virginia. Here is the video: http://t.co/i0F20Rz0

Megabanks Extend and Pretend They Won’t Pay for Foreclosure Fouls

It was pitched as good news for foreclosed-upon borrowers: Last month regulators announced an extension for those seeking reviews of servicers’ actions under the April 2011 federal consent orders. Consumers now had until yearend to submit claims.

I think the big mortgage servicers, and their consultants, are in no hurry to start the reviews. They’d love it if these megabanks never have to pay borrowers a dime.

“Reviews are still underway. We hope the compensation will begin soon with a limited number of borrowers receiving compensation in the fourth quarter of 2012” says Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Regulators have been promising lump-sum payments “from $500 to, in the most egregious cases, $125,000 plus equity,” for a while. But, as yet, there have been no payments to borrowers. The independent consultants, engaged by the large banks and paid directly by them, haven’t yet made any payment recommendations, according to Hubbard.

Who’s getting paid in the meantime? The independent consultants.

Read on.

Discover to Pay $200M to Settle Probe into Credit Card Protection Products

Discover Financial Services (DFS) has agreed to refund hundreds of millions of dollars to settle a regulatory probe of its credit card marketing practices.

The issuer’s Discover Bank subsidiary will return $200 million to cardholders who purchased credit card protection products from the company via telephone unknowingly over a roughly three-and-a-half-year period beginning in December 2007, as part of an agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the company said late Friday,

Discover also agreed to pay a combined $14 million in penalties to the agencies and to improve its sales practices.

“We have worked hard to earn the loyalty of our cardmembers, and we are committed to marketing our products responsibly,” Discover CEO David Nelms said in a news release.

Read on.

Burglary? Investors seize houses before they officially own them

As real estate investment heats up and the El Paso County Public Trustee’s foreclosure auctions overflow with anxious bidders, ethics have become a bigger issue.

 

Those closest to the action say there are regular stories of investors breaking into houses to check them out before the sale, trashing houses after lien holders redeem them, banks sending eviction notices on properties they don’t own yet, and investors going into homes to start remodeling them before they have the title.

 

That last scenario is actually getting out of hand, said Public Trustee Tom Mowle.

 

“We’ve had a rash lately of what I would characterize as burglaries,” Mowle said. “We’ve had a couple cases lately where people have bought property at sale and immediately go to the house, lock people out and take their stuff.”

 

Whoever buys a property at the foreclosure auction — an investor or the bank — has to wait eight business days before taking possession of the property. That period allows the bank to discover mistakes and lien holders an opportunity to buy the property even if it already has been sold to an investor.

Read on.

NJ Bans Smiling in Drivers’ License Photos

Via ABC News(no video)

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has cracked down on drivers smiling in their driver’s license photos because their smiles could interfere with new facial recognition software.

lol And what will be next: banning the use of dentures? Tooth recognition?

Korea to Triple RMBS Sales in Boost to Market: Mortgages

Korea Housing Finance Corp. plans to more than triple sales of residential mortgage-backed securities to investors, allowing banks to expand home lending without adding to the consumer debt they carry on their books.

The state-run residential loan provider, the sole issuer of RMBS in Korea, expects to sell as much as 30 trillion won ($27 billion) next year, from 8.5 trillion won in 2011, Chief Executive Officer Seo Jongdae said.

“These MBS sales by Korea Housing will help local banks to build indirect experience of securitization with limited costs,” said Ku Yong Uk, a Seoul-based analyst at Daewoo Securities Co. “We need some action to grow this securitization market and this will be a good start.”

A lack of demand for longer term, fixed-rate loans has prevented a securities market from developing in Asia’s fourth- biggest economy. The government is urging lenders to cut reliance on floating-rate, shorter term loans as recordhousehold debt hampers them from lending more, while the prospect of rising interest rates adds to the cost of funds.

“Sales of MBS will continue to rise as more local lenders are providing mortgages better fit for securitization,” Seo said in an interview in Seoul.

The market’s development is a necessity for local banks, Ku said. Loan growth at Korean lenders was 7.7 percent in 2011, about half the 15 percent pace in 2007, according to data fromBank of Korea, the central bank.

 

Read on.