Monthly Archives: March 2014

Class Action Complaint filed against Northwest Trustee Services

H/T from Deadlyclear.com:

Plaintiffs bring this action as a Class Action pursuant to CR 23 on behalf of all persons in the state of Washington who received defective Notices of Default (as specified below) from Northwest Trustee Services, Inc. (NWTS).

 

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“Nail Gun Suicide” Banker’s Firm Probed Over Missing Millions

“Nail Gun Suicide” Banker’s Firm Probed Over Missing Millions

State prosecutors launched a criminal investigation and a grand jury into bankrupt American Title Services just days after its CEO killed himself with a nail gun, according to federal court records.

Meanwhile, the title insurance company for which American Title was writing policies said more than $2 million is missing from escrow accounts the Greenwood Village company maintained on real estate closings.

American Title has filed for bankruptcy protection, largely because all of its records have been seized and it’s unable to do business. Investigators from the Colorado Attorney General’s office and Title Resources Guaranty Company, the company for which American Title wrote policies, seized the documents shortly after CEO Richard Talley killed himself at his Aurora home on Feb. 4.

Records from two separate cases in U.S. District Court — a lawsuit and a bankruptcy — suggest the seemingly successful title business with several branches around the state had financial problems.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General John Suthers’ office would not say how broadly investigators are looking into American Title’s affairs or whether the inquiry centers solely on Talley.

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MORTGAGE SERVICING SHIFTS TO NONBANK FIRMS

MORTGAGE SERVICING SHIFTS TO NONBANK FIRMS

Increasingly, the $10 trillion mortgage servicing industry is shifting from banks to nonbank  firms such as hedge funds, as federal and state regulators increase their  scrutiny — and fines — on the banking industry.

For years, banks such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo & Co. and  Ally Financial have been selling mortgage servicing rights to nonbank companies like Carrington Mortgage Services, Nationstar Mortgage Holding and Ocwen Financial Corp.

Last year, over $1 trillion of home loan servicing rights were transferred from traditional banks to nonbank companies, reports The  Wall Street Journal.

The  home loan servicing business is lucrative. Nonbank mortgage servicers make  money by collecting a fee for handling billing and payment collections from borrowers. Banks and loan investors pay the nonbank mortgage servicers a percentage of the billions collected each month.

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Wells Fargo wins second part of securities lending case

Wells Fargo wins second part of securities lending case

The pension plan for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, along with other pension funds, has lost a legal battle with Wells Fargo & Co. over tens of millions of dollars the funds lost in the bank’s former securities lending program.

The San Francisco-based bank did not breach its fiduciary duties to the pension funds, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank said in an order filed Monday.

However, he explained in the 12-page order that he was “constrained” by law to adopt the decision a jury reached last August in the case, which had two parts. The jury last August focused on claims by just six of 13 institutional investors that sued Wells Fargo in 2011, those not covered by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The jury decided that Wells Fargo did not breach its fiduciary duty to those six plaintiffs with its investment decisions.

Monday’s order covers the remaining seven pension funds, including Blue Cross Blue Shield’s, that fall under ERISA. Frank heard those claims separately, and determined he was legally bound to accept the jury verdict for them.

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U.S. judge rules banks must face lawsuit over alleged rate rigging

U.S. judge rules banks must face lawsuit over alleged rate rigging

A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that a group of international banks must face complaints that they violated the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act by manipulating yen-denominated interest rate benchmarks between 2006 and 2010.

In a ruling on Friday, U.S. District Judge George Daniels also granted the banks’ motion to dismiss related claims against them for antitrust violations and unjust enrichment.

The banks, which included Mizuho Bank Ltd, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Barclays Bank AG, UBS AG and Citigroup Inc, were sued in 2012 for allegedly manipulating rates that reflect interest on short-term loans denominated in Japanese yen.

“Hero” foreclosure attorney slams investment banker Christopher Whalen, mortgage servicers

[Editor’s note: Thomas Cox, the “hero” lawyer from Maine whose work is often credited with leading to the $25 billionNational Mortgage Settlement, asked HousingWire to publish his reaction to another blog today where Christopher Whalen called the current regulatory environment “legalized extortion.” While HousingWire is not in the habit of airing personal attacks, Cox’s position and passion will hopefully prompt continued, constructive conversation on the sensitive and national topic of foreclosure. Here are those comments.]

Mr. Whalen,

You and Martin Andelman simply haven’t a clue about what you are talking about.

I know that Martin does not go to court, and I doubt that you have any practical experience in the real world of foreclosures.

I train lawyers all over the country.

I speak to lawyers all over the country every day.

I go to foreclosure mediation often and I go to court often.

Your theories simply do not match reality.

There is daily and massive evidence in our dealings with the servicers outside of court, in our foreclosure mediation programs and in our court cases, that the servicers could care less about keeping homeowners in their homes. In fact, in a high percentage of cases where homeowners are demonstrably able to afford loan modifications that would benefit investors, the servicers work their hardest to deny those modifications.

Don’t go blaming the homeowners for this–I am referring to huge numbers of cases where they have either housing counselor assistance or legal assistance, where complete loan modification applications are submitted, and where the servicers, in defiance of the National Mortgage Settlement and now in daily defiance of the new CFPB regulations, fail to review the applications and wrongfully deny them.

Martin Andelman excuses the servicers, claiming that “it is hard” for them to do modifications. They have had more than five years now to do it right. The reality is that they are unwilling to invest in sufficient resources to do it right, because doing so will eat into their profits.

You act outraged at the efforts of states like Massachusetts and the efforts of the CFPB to protect homeowners. If the servicers were acting in accordance with the motivations that you so nicely ascribe to them, there would have been no need for these protective efforts. Rather, they are reflective of reality — the servicers do not want to modify loans, they do not care about keeping homeowners in their homes.

Why don’t you advocate for legislation and regulations that will allow homeowners’ lawyers to sue servicers for lack of good faith, for negligence, and for deception in their dealings with homeowners? Servicers call the shots and control the modification process, so why shouldn’t homeowners be able to sue them when they fail to act in accord with the pure motives that you ascribe to them?

I don’t know whether Levitan and Toomey are correct in what they have said about servicers’ motives, but I do know that all of the evidence that I and homeowner advocates see every day all across the country is that servicers do not act rationally and appear to be motivated to foreclose rather than to make rational decisions on modifications that will benefit both homeowners and investors.

I represented banks for years.

I am certain that if the actual parties with the money at risk in these mortgages were working out their own loans, without servicers in the middle, the outcomes would be far different. Until the legal and regulatory systems, and the financial industry at large, come fully to terms with the reality that servicers truly don’t give a damn about protecting the interests of the investors whom they supposedly serve, states will continue to enact their protective measures, and the financial industry will have itself to blame.

You accuse the regulators of extortion. That is a strong word and an outrageous accusation. What the regulators are doing is trying to stop the extortion by the servicers of homeowners who are qualified for loan modifications but cannot get them. That extortion comes in the form of wearing down the emotional stamina of homeowners to stay with the modification process until they get fair and honest treatment.  I just had a homeowner get a Freddie Mac modification that she first applied for five years ago. Most homeowners would have given up in tears of frustration before being able to stay with the process that long.

Accusations of extortion are outrageous. Your utterly unwarranted attack upon Richard Cordray is so off the wall that it reflects back directly upon your own political agenda. That agenda clearly is to sacrifice homeowners upon the alter of improved corporate profits for the financial industry.

Source: Housingwire

UNC academic scandal: Whistleblower, former athlete speak out on athletes that were guided towards fake classes and gifted grades to comply with NCAA guidelines

UNC scandal

North Carolina whistleblower Mary Willingham and former football player Deunta Williams discuss the fake classes that student-athletes were allegedly encouraged to take in order to maintain eligibility to play.

Read more:

Also read more on Daily Mail. Click here.

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60 Minutes: Stock market rigged, says Michael Lewis in new book

60 Minutes: Stock market rigged, says Michael Lewis in new book

The U.S. stock market is rigged in favor of high-frequency traders, stock exchanges and large Wall Street banks who have found a way to use computer-based speed trading to gain a decisive edge over everyone else, from the smallest retail investors to the biggest hedge funds, says Michael Lewis in a new blockbuster book, “Flash Boys.” 

The insiders’ methods are legal but cost the rest of the market’s players tens of billions of dollars a year, according to Lewis, who speaks to Steve Kroft in his first interview about the book. Kroft’s report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, March 30 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

 

High-frequency traders have found ways to use their speed to gain an advantage that few understand, says Lewis. “They’re able to identify your desire to buy shares in Microsoft and buy them in front of you and sell them back to you at a higher price,” says Lewis. “The speed advantage that the faster traders have is milliseconds…fractions of milliseconds.”

Lewis says a former trader at the Royal Bank of Canada in New York, Brad Katsuyama, figured this out after he consistently failed to have his entire order filled at the price he wanted. Katsuyama, who speaks to Kroft, put together a team of experts to figure out how to defeat the problem and started a new exchange, IEX, that he believes will level the playing field. Katsuyama launched IEX in October and investors, large and small, can route their trades through IEX without fear of predators lurking. IEX has accomplished this by creating a unique speed bump. “They slowed down high-frequency traders’ ability to trade on their market,” says Lewis.

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NY AG will continue to pursue its claims of fraud against BofA former CFO Joe L. Price

NY AG will continue to pursue its claims of fraud against BofA former CFO Joe L. Price

BofA CFO is the next on NY AG’s list…

NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a $25 million settlement with Bank of America Corporation and its former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kenneth D. Lewis, regarding the bank’s actions as it sought to merge with Merrill Lynch & Co in 2008. Despite its top executives’ specific knowledge of mounting losses at Merrill Lynch that were forecast at more than $9 billion, Bank of America failed to disclose that information to shareholders prior to their vote on a proposed merger with Merrill Lynch. The Attorney General also alleged that the Bank’s former CEO and CFO, Kenneth Lewis and Joe Price, misrepresented to shareholders the impact that the merger with Merrill would have on Bank of America’s future earnings. The barring of Mr. Lewis from serving as an officer or director of a public company for three years, as well as the payment of $10 million to the State of New York, represents one of the first successful attempts by law enforcement to hold accountable a CEO or individual at a major institution since the financial crisis.

“Since I took office, I’ve acted on the belief that no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should escape accountability for their actions — especially ones that caused such damage to shareholders,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s settlement demonstrates a major victory in our continued commitment to applying the law equally to individuals, as well as corporations. I would hope this closes one chapter of our ongoing efforts to ensure the frauds that occurred in and around the financial crisis are not forgotten.”

On April 4, the Attorney General intends to file a summary judgment motion against the remaining defendant in the case, Joe L. Price, the bank’s former Chief Financial Officer. 

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Executive Who Committed Suicide Anxious Amid Deutsche Bank Probes

Executive Who Committed Suicide Anxious Amid Deutsche Bank Probes

LONDON—A former senior executive at Deutsche Bank AG DBK.XE +1.30% committed suicide earlier this year after complaining that he was anxious about government investigations into the bank, a London coroner said Tuesday.

The executive, William Broeksmit, was found hanging in his London home in January. The 58-year-old Chicago native left a senior role at Deutsche Bank’s investment bank in February 2013, but he remained an adviser until the end of last year. The London coroner, in an inquest on Tuesday, didn’t give more details on what caused Mr. Broeksmit’s anxiety.

People familiar with the matter say he had been involved in investigations by U.S. authorities probing the bank. In the months before his death, he told friends that he felt abandoned by former colleagues whom he had spent years supporting, according to people he spoke with.

The London coroner’s office, which investigates sudden or violent deaths including suicides, said Mr. Broeksmit left multiple suicide notes but didn’t disclose their contents.

One of those notes was to Anshu Jain, Deutsche Bank’s co-chief executive, according to a person familiar with the note. The decadeslong investment-banking careers of Messrs. Broeksmit and Jain were closely entwined, dating back to their work together in the 1990s building Merrill Lynch & Co.’s derivatives business.