Daily Archives: June 4, 2014

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New York attorney general takes deep dive into ‘dark pools’

New York attorney general takes deep dive into ‘dark pools’

The New York Attorney General’s sweeping investigation into the U.S. stock market will include whether trading centers known as “dark pools” are conducting themselves properly, an official said on Wednesday.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is seeking information from exchanges and alternative trading platforms about their relationships with high-frequency trading firms, as part of its probe into allegedly unfair trading practices on Wall Street, sources have previously told Reuters.

Broker-run trading systems known as dark pools, where participants are anonymous and trading information is hidden until after the trades are completed, are a key focus, said Chad Johnson, head of the agency’s Investor Protection Bureau.

“We remain highly interested in this area,” he said at a conference held by Sandler O’Neill and Partners.

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Update on Iranians’ Account Closures at Bank of America

Update on Iranians’ Account Closures at Bank of America

WASHINGTON DC – Bank of America has issued a response to NIAC’s request for the bank to stop closing accounts of Iranians located in the US. In its letter, Bank of America states that Iranian accounts are being terminated in order to uphold the bank’s “due diligence” obligations under US sanctions law.

Over the past few months, NIAC has received a significant number of communications from Iranians across the US – primarily Iranian students studying at US universities – informing us that Bank of America is closing or restricting their bank accounts with no prior notification or explanation.

NIAC delivered a letter to Bank of America’s CEO seeking resolution to this issue and urging the bank to halt all further account closures, provide prior notification to Iranian account-holders that their accounts are being shuttered, and reevaluate current policies to ensure that the bank is not discriminating against Iranians on the basis of their national-origin. NIAC also joined with several other Iranian-American organizations – including PAAIA, IABA, and Pars Equality Center – to send a separate letter requesting Bank of America to reevaluate its policies.

Bank of America responded to NIAC’s initial letter last week, stating that the account closures were performed in strict compliance with US sanctions law and that no accounts were closed without prior notice. Bank of America’s letter also states that the bank does not discriminate on the basis of national-origin.

Under US sanctions law, banks are indeed required to restrict access to accounts if they have reason to believe the account-holder is “ordinarily resident” in Iran and in Iran. However, in all of the communications NIAC has received, the Iranian account-holders whose accounts were restricted were living in the US and had not been in violation of US sanctions law. In all cases, the affected individuals were able to get their accounts re-opened by providing proof of US residency – though only after weeks of having no access to a bank account.

NIAC believes Bank of America can do far more to ensure that the bank is not taking an overly-broad approach to sanctions enforcement. NIAC has helped facilitate solutions in previous cases where banks had unduly closed Iranian accounts.

NIAC is also now taking steps to address this broader problem with how sanctions are being interpreted and implemented under US sanctions law.

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Bank of America retreats from affordable loan program

Bank of America retreats from affordable loan program

Wow, what a low blow to the low-income and minority borrowers to get home loans.

Bank of America, the largest bank in Massachusetts, has pulled out of one of the state’s leading first-time homebuyer programs, a move that will make it harder for low-income and minority borrowers to get home loans, according to housing advocates.

Instead of participating in the Massachusetts loan program, Bank of America is directing lower-income borrowers to a federal program with higher interest rates and additional fees, a new report by a network of affordable housing organizations found.

Those loans can cost borrowers nearly $300 more a month in mortgage payments on a $220,000 single-family home, according to the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, which helped produce the report.

Esther Maycock-Thorne, the president of the housing alliance board, said Bank of America should do more to help lower-income homebuyers. Bank of America has an extensive branch network in the state, takes in nearly $58 billion in deposits from Massachusetts customers, and offers other products, including wealth management, she noted.

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MN TRO | THE EXAMINER ORDERED AN EVICTION STOPPED BECAUSE WE PROVIDED EVIDENCE THAT THE FORECLOSURE WAS VOID AND THAT THE PETITIONER, FREDDIE MAC, LACKED LEGAL CAPACITY TO OBTAIN POSSESSION OF THE HOME

MN TRO | THE EXAMINER ORDERED AN EVICTION STOPPED BECAUSE WE PROVIDED EVIDENCE THAT THE FORECLOSURE WAS VOID AND THAT THE PETITIONER, FREDDIE MAC, LACKED LEGAL CAPACITY TO OBTAIN POSSESSION OF THE HOME

In the Matter of the Petition of for a New Certificatercate of Title After The above-entitled matter came on for hearing by telephone conference call on May 15, 2014 on Petitioner’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent Petitioner from being evicted under a Writ of Restitution issued by Judge Marek in Housing Court File 62-HG-CV-14- 483. The hearing was held by Wayne D. Anderson, Examiner of Titles, sitting as Referee of District Court. William Butler appeared for movant, Jeffrey C…

 

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BNP PARIBAS : French President Hollande to raise possible ‘disproportionate’ BNP fine with Obama

BNP PARIBAS : French President Hollande to raise possible ‘disproportionate’ BNP fine with Obama

French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday he will raise concerns about a possible $10 billion-plus U.S. fine on BNP Paribas BNPP.PA that he considers “disproportionate” with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.

France’s biggest listed bank is under investigation by U.S. authorities over whether it evaded U.S. sanctions, mainly on Sudan, Iran and Syria, between 2002 and 2009, and Hollande said he would tackle Obama on the potential fine when they meet on Thursday.

“I don’t know if he wants to talk about it, but I will talk to him about it,” Hollande told reporters during a trip to Warsaw.

French officials have said Obama, who will visit France for Friday’s 70th anniversary of the World War Two D-Day landings in Normandy, would dine with Hollande at a restaurant in Paris.

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U.S. appeals court says judge wrongly rejected SEC-Citigroup accord

U.S. appeals court says judge wrongly rejected SEC-Citigroup accord

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday said a federal judge abused his discretion by rejecting a $285 million fraud settlement between Citigroup Inc and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, handing the regulator a victory as it drives to get tougher on enforcement.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff failed in his ruling to give “significant deference” to the SEC’s decision to settle, and was wrong to require the regulator to establish the “truth” of what it alleged.

Rakoff had faulted the SEC’s longtime policy of letting some corporate defendants settle without admitting or denying its charges. Wednesday’s decision may make it easier for the SEC to win settlements without having to worry about federal judges rejecting them because of an absence of proven facts, legal experts said.

“It is an abuse of discretion to require, as the district court did here, that the SEC establish the “truth” of the allegations against a settling party as a condition for approving the consent decree,” Circuit Judge Rosemary Pooler wrote for a three-judge 2nd Circuit panel. “The district court’s failure to make the proper inquiry constitutes legal error.”

The 2nd Circuit returned the case to Rakoff, who must review the settlement again unless he pursues a further appeal. One judge on the panel, Raymond Lohier, said he would have ordered Rakoff to approve the accord.

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PayPal, Trulia teaming to flip houses online

PayPal, Trulia teaming to flip houses online

A couple of exec’s from PayPal and Trulia (TRLA) are looking to start buying and flipping homes on-line this July.

Executives at the two online innovators have gotten together and come up with the idea of online flipping.

They’re launching a website scheduled to debut in July wherein a seller can log on, get a value for a their home and an instant offer to buy the home.

It’s going to be just about like they’re selling a sweater or a rare book, and without having to pay real estate commissions or closing costs. 

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Interesting: Lloyd Blankfein Got Rejected From Goldman Sachs The First Time He Ever Applied

Interesting: Lloyd Blankfein Got Rejected From Goldman Sachs The First Time He Ever Applied

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg shared their first experiences on Wall Street during a luncheon at Bloomberg LP’s headquarters. 

 

Blankfein told alumni of the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program about how he got rejected when he applied to Goldman. 

“Well, I got into Goldman really by acquisition because I had gone— I grew up in east New York in the Linden Projects— I did go to fancy schools, but my résumé wasn’t up to a Wall Street set of  résumés. I went to college. I went to law school and practiced for a while. Then, like a lot of people in that era, I wanted to get into finance…I applied to a number of  Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and got turned down by all of them, and including Goldman Sachs. Which is why to this day, I admire the firm that I run today…But the only job I could get that kind of had, you know, related to Wall Street was J. Aron & Company, which was a commodity trading firm, which on the prestige between equities and fixed income and commodities—commodities was just above a toaster compared to the other jobs. But I got a job there. And soon, that firm got acquired to Goldman Sachs. That’s how I got into Goldman Sachs.” 

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West Virginia AG Morrisey announces $400,000 settlement from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

West Virginia AG Morrisey announces $400,000 settlement from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay $400,000 to settle an antitrust complaint filed by the attorney general’s office.

JPMorgan was one of 22 banks and financial companies sued for allegedly rigging bids, fixing prices and manipulating the market for municipal derivatives, violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the West Virginia Antitrust Act. The company denies any wrongdoing, despite the decision to settle.

“We are pleased our Office could reach this settlement,” Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said. “Our office worked diligently on this case, including amending the complaint last year, and it is good to see the work pay off.”

The settlement closes all claims the Office of the Attorney General had against JPMorgan. The office settled with Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of America last year, and Morgan Stanley earlier this year.

Lawsuits against the remaining banks are ongoing.

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Royal Bank of Scotland caps risky mortgages

Royal Bank of Scotland caps risky mortgages

Government-owned lender follows Lloyds in introducing loan-to-income limits on mortgages above £500,000

Royal Bank of Scotland has become the second bank in the space of two weeks to limit risky mortgage lending amid fears of unsustainable house price inflation.

The taxpayer-owned bank, which also runs NatWest, will limit house loans of more than £500,000 to four times a borrowers’ income, the same measure introduced by Lloyds Banking Group last month.

In addition, RBS – which is 80pc owned by the Government after its 2008 bailout – will cap the length of the mortgages at 30 years. The terms, introduced nationwide but intended to cool the London market, will affect 2.6pc of RBS’s loans in London, and 0.5pc of its total.