Daily Archives: July 1, 2014

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More Than $127 Million Of CMBS Loans Securitized By Natixis

More Than $127 Million Of CMBS Loans Securitized By Natixis

Natixis, the corporate, investment and financial services arm of Groupe BPCE, reports that it recently securitized $127.1 million of loans in a conduit commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) transaction.

The firm served as both a sponsor, via Natixis Real Estate Capital, and a co-manager, via Natixis Securities Americas, in a $996.3 million transaction.

Specifically, Natixis contributed seven loans with a cumulative balance of $127.1 million to the securitization of 49 loans amounting to $996.3 million. The five-, seven- and 10-year fixed-rate loans were primarily secured by retail, office and multifamily properties.

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Jamie Dimon Has Throat Cancer: Report

Jamie Dimon Has Throat Cancer: Report

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told his employees that he has ‘curable’ throat cancer. 

In a note to staff, Dimon said, “The good news is that the prognosis from my doctors is excellent, the cancer was caught quickly, and my condition is curable.”

In after-hours trading, the bank’s shares slid 0.7% after the news.

JPMorgan’s board of directors has been briefed on his condition, which will likely call for about eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City, according to the note. The cancer is believed to be contained in Dimon’s throat and lymph nodes on his right side.

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Congress Quietly Deletes a Key Disclosure of Free Trips Lawmakers Take

Congress Quietly Deletes a Key Disclosure of Free Trips Lawmakers Take

House Ethics reverses decades of precedent as lobbyist-sponsored lawmaker travel expands.

It’s going to be a little more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world after the House has quietly stripped away the requirement that such privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers’ annual financial-disclosure forms.

The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. Gifts of free travel to lawmakers have appeared on the yearly financial form dating back its creation in the late 1970s, after the Watergate scandal. National Journaluncovered the deleted disclosure requirement when analyzing the most recent batch of yearly filings.

“This is such an obvious effort to avoid accountability,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “There’s no legitimate reason. There’s no good reason for it.”

Free trips paid for by private groups must still be reported separately to the House’s Office of the Clerk and disclosed there. But they will now be absent from the chief document that reporters, watchdogs, and members of the public have used for decades to scrutinize lawmakers’ finances.

“The more you can hide, the less accountable you can be,” Sloan said of lawmakers. “It’s clear these forms are useful for reporters and watchdogs, and obviously a little too useful.”

House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, did not return a call for comment; ranking member Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., referred questions to committee staff. The committee declined to comment.

The change occurs as free travel, which critics have criticized as thinly veiled junkets, has come back into vogue. Last year, members of Congress and their aides took more free trips than in any year since the influence-peddling scandal that sent lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison. There were nearly 1,900 trips at a cost of more than $6 million last year, according to Legistorm, which compiles travel records.

Now none of those trips must be included on the annual disclosures of lawmakers or their aides.

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U.S. court upholds dismissal of MERSCORP foreclosure suit

U.S. court upholds dismissal of MERSCORP foreclosure suit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a Washington federal court’s ruling that dismissed the plaintiffs’ Washington Consumer Protection Act claims along with other claims alleged in a wrongful foreclosure complaint against MERSCORP Holdings and its co-defendants. 

In Mickelson v. Chase Home Finance LLC, the plaintiffs sought to invalidate a completed foreclosure sale by alleging CPA claims against MERS as well as Deed of Trust Act violations against the foreclosing trustee, Northwest Trustee Services, Inc

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Banks sue to overturn local foreclosure laws

Banks sue to overturn local foreclosure laws

Seven Massachusetts banks are suing the cities of Lynn and Worcester over foreclosure regulations that the banks are calling unconstitutional.

The local ordinances require banks to negotiate alternatives with delinquent homeowners through a formal mediation process before beginning the property-seizure process, which is not a requirement of state regulations, according to a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Worcester. The regulations also make lenders responsible for the upkeep of vacant properties and homes in foreclosure — even before they have possession of the properties, according to the Massachusetts Bankers Association.

Lenders would be required to provide cash bonds to local governments to insure they maintain vacant properties. Those that don’t comply would be penalized under the local laws.

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HUD fines Greenlight Financial Services over mortgage violations

HUD fines Greenlight Financial Services over mortgage violations

Irvine, California based mortgage lender Greenlight Financial Services will pay $48,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Fair Housing Act when it denied or delayed mortgage loans to women because they were on maternity leave, according to a filing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The settlement stems from a complaint a married couple filed with HUD alleging that Greenlight, now called GFS Capital Holdings, denied their application to refinance their home since the wife was on maternity leave.

In addition, the company allegedly denied four other applicants who were on maternity leave, or delayed their applications until after the woman returned to work.   

According to the Fair Housing Act, “It is unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions or privileges associated with the sale or rental of a dwelling on the basis sex, including denying a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance because a woman is pregnant or on family leave.”

As a result, Greenlight will pay $20,000 to the couple that filed the complaint and $7,000 to the other four applicants.

HSBC announces $10M settlement over foreclosure fees

HSBC Holdings Plc. (HSBCreached a settlement to pay $10 million over charges that it defrauded taxpayers by submitting inflated bills to process residential foreclosures. Per Reuters:

The civil settlement announced Tuesday is the first to result from an investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan into whether mortgage servicers overcharged the government on foreclosures on federally-backed home loans.

According to settlement papers, HSBC admitted and accepted responsibility for having failed in 2009 and 2010 to properly police foreclosure-related fees charged by outside lawyers and other service providers.

Source: Reuters
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Whisteblowers are increasing on Wall Street

Whisteblowers are increasing on Wall Street

In the post-Dodd-Frank world, every Wall Street bank, it seems, has a rat.

This year has marked a turning point for regulatory action against the country’s largest financial institutions, with federal and state agencies moving beyond the misdeeds of the 2008 financial crisis and devoting attention to other fraudulent schemes, including money-laundering, tax-dodging and predatory trading.

That’s because frustrated Wall Street workers — emboldened by a beefed-up whistleblower program as part of Dodd-Frank financial reform — are finding it easier and potentially more lucrative to rat out wrongdoers within their own ranks, experts say.

“The whistleblower program was born out of the financial crisis and has been one of the great success stories of the statute,” said Jordan Thomas, chair of the whistleblower representation practice at law firm Labaton Sucharow.

On Monday, prosecutors are expected to wring a $9 billion penalty and a guilty plea from BNP Paribas to settle allegations that the French bank laundered money in blacklisted countries including Sudan, Iran and Cuba, sources said.

While the case against BNP dragged on for years, it started because of a tip from a single whistleblower, one source said.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Wednesday slapped Barclays with a suit, claiming the British bank lied to pension funds and other investors about predatory high-speed traders lurking in its own “dark pool” electronic trading platform. That case was also “aided significantly by a number of high-level former Barclays insiders,” according to the AG’s complaint.

Two Barclays directors were either fired or resigned soon after they refused to mislead an institutional client about how much trading they routed to the bank’s own dark pool, according to the complaint.

“Many of these organizations lack a culture of integrity, where doing the right thing was the only thing that mattered and speaking up was encouraged,” Thomas said.

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After BNP, U.S. targets range of firms in crackdown on illicit money flows

After BNP, U.S. targets range of firms in crackdown on illicit money flows

BNP Paribas’ guilty plea and agreement to pay nearly $9 billion for violating U.S. sanctions is part of a larger U.S. Justice Department shift in strategy that is expected to snare more major banks and other firms across the financial food chain.

Two other major French banks, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale, Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG, and Citigroup Inc’s Banamex unit in Mexico are among those being investigated for possible money laundering or sanctions violations, according to people familiar with the matter and public disclosures.

The Justice Department and other U.S. authorities, including the Manhattan District Attorney, are probing Credit Agricole and Societe Generale for potentially violating U.S. economic sanctions imposed against Iran, Cuba and Sudan, one of the sources said.

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Nonbank Servicers Pose Fannie-Freddie Risk, Says Audit

Nonbank Servicers Pose Fannie-Freddie Risk, Says Audit

The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FMCC) should strengthen its oversight to protect the two companies from risks posed by nonbank mortgage servicers, according to an auditor’s report released today.

Nonbank servicers’ rapid growth and reliance on short-term financing has left some of them unable to adequately manage loans backed by the two government-sponsored enterprises, the report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General said.

Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back the loans, “such strains can increase credit risk,” the report said. “In addition, poor or interrupted servicing — particularly for vulnerable homeowners with troubled mortgage loans — can risk the enterprises’ reputation.”

Nonbank companies including Nationstar (NSM) Mortgage Holdings Inc. and Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) have been handling a growing share of loans backed by government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as banks seek to shed the job of collecting mortgage payments and dealing with delinquent borrowers. Unlike banks, the specialty servicers aren’t overseen by a federal regulator responsible for ensuring their financial soundness.