Daily Archives: January 23, 2013

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Too Big To Jail? The Top 10 Civil Cases Against the Banks

Too Big To Jail? The Top 10 Civil Cases Against the Banks

The Justice Department’s initial response to the financial crisis did not take long to materialize. In June 2008, three months before the Lehman Brothers collapse, the department brought its first criminal case, charging two former Bear Stearns executives with securities fraud for their alleged roles inflating the housing bubble.

A little more than a year later, a jury found the executives not guilty, dealing the DOJ an early setback. Since then, government investigations into the crisis have almost exclusively centered on civil charges, which requires prosecutors establish guilt beyond a preponderance of the evidence. The bar is higher in criminal cases, requiring they prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here are 10 of the most prominent of those cases to date. In nearly all, the government won multi-million dollar settlements, but the companies and officials involved were not required to admit wrongdoing.

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Bankers in Davos; Deutsche Bank Settles with FERC; Why Firms Keep ‘Foreign’ Cash in U.S. Bank Accounts

Bankers in Davos; Deutsche Bank Settles with FERC; Why Firms Keep ‘Foreign’ Cash in U.S. Bank Accounts

Highlights from Davos: The World Economic Forum just began in Davos, Switzerland, but has already produced plenty of interesting news for bankers. According to the FT, preliminary buzz around the event is that arriving executives“are plagued with concerns about growth, restive shareholders and declining margins.” The article goes on to note that Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is attending the event for the first time since 2008, though it’s unclear how he specifically feels about his bank’s balance sheet or the “fractious relationships with shareholders” the FT suggests is collectively percolating among top execs. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who spoke earlier this morning, however, may have inadvertently nodded to investor concerns when he dropped this qualified apology for the London Whale: “If you’re a shareholder might I apologize deeply. But we did have record results and life goes on.” He also went on to criticize regulators, saying “It’s five years after the crisis OK, we still have not fixed a lot of the things you are talking about. Part of the reason we are trying to do too much too fast.” Meanwhile, a Dealbook article criticizes the forum itself for not devoting enough of its agenda to dissecting the financial crisis. “The World Economic Forum and its leaders appear to be moving on,” the author writes. “but if the financial titans gathered there are really going to fight off the small but growing number of critics who are calling for the breakup of the big banks or even more likely a stronger Volcker Rule, they should put forth an alternative or an explanation for why these blowups keep occurring.”

Those looking for more WEF news throughout the day can follow the FT‘s, theJournal‘s or Reuters live blogs of the event. Or you can simply keep hitting the refresh button over at Dealbook, which has been in Davos overload since this weekend, going so far as to cover its (dwindling) party scene. “For those worried that there won’t be any parties on Friday, fear not: Marissa Meyer, ex-Google who now heads up Yahoo, has stepped in to sponsor a cocktail party,” writes Andrew Ross Sorkin. “And rumors are rampant that Sean Parker, the Internet entrepreneur, is holding an exclusive party Friday night.”

URGENT NOTICE – JANUARY 25, 2013 DEADLINE FOR COUNTRYWIDE DISCRIMINATORY LENDING SETTLEMENT CLAIM

Cross posted from the Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen

In December of 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a $335 million dollar settlement to resolve allegations of lending discrimination by Countrywide Financial Corporation.  Countrywide was charged with steering African-American and Hispanic borrowers into loans with higher fees, higher interest rates, or other sub-prime loan features, simply because of a person’s race or national origin.  Skin color, not credit worthiness, was the determining factor for the higher cost loan.

After finalizing the settlement, the DOJ conducted a statistical analysis of millions of Countrywide loans.  The DOJ compiled a list of eligible African-American and Hispanic borrowers who obtained a Countrywide loan which contained higher costs and less favorable rates than loans extended to similarly-qualified non-Hispanic white borrowers during the time frame from 2004 through 2008.  Either a borrower is on this list or not.  There is no dispute process.  Settlement notification letters were mailed in November 2012.  The quickly approaching deadline to return a settlement claim is Friday, January 25, 2013. 

Despite having numerous African-American and Hispanic clients that should be eligible to participate in this settlement, only one client from our firm received a settlement notification and that client is a non-Hispanic, white person.  This leads us to believe there are massive flaws in the DOJ’s identification and notification process.

If you obtained a Countrywide loan between 2004 through 2008, please call Rust Consulting (1-800-843-5148) which is the consulting firm administering the settlement.  A customer representative will ask a list of identifying questions in order to check your eligibility against their database.   Before settlement funds are disbursed, recipients may be asked to sign a waiver.  It is important to have an attorney review the waiver before you sign it in order to assure that you are fully informed and protected.

It appears Countrywide’s racist practices were not limited to this one mortgage lender’s isolated practices.  There are similar Department of Justice settlements with discriminatory (racist) other lenders; Suntrust (suntrust.settlement@usdoj.gov ),  Wells Fargo (here) and GFI Mortgage Bankers, Inc(800-896-7743 x 9992).

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If you are in South Florida and are looking for help with debtforeclosurereal estate or want more information about bankruptcy law, call  (754) 400-5150 or fill out the online form for a FREE CONSULTATION.  Let the lawyers and staff at the Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen serve you!

The Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen is a debt relief agency.  In addition to other legal services, the Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen help clients file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Fannie Mae sends update on National Mortgage Insurance

Fannie Mae used a letter to lenders to confirm the GSE has approved National Mortgage Insurance Corp. (NMI) as a mortgage insurer with permission to provide policies for conventional first mortgages.

Fannie Mae said NMI is not licensed to write mortgage insurance in every state, but it continues to try and obtain licensing within individual jurisdictions. Loans backed by NMI insurance can be delivered to Fannie Mae on or after June 1, 2013, if they possess notes dated on or after Jan. 16. 

Clear here to read the letter for lenders.