Daily Archives: August 27, 2014

The Sorry State of Bank Apologies

Admitting a problem, as the cliché has it, is the first step to solving it. But with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, admissions of wrongdoing have been the last step. There’s much work to be done to hold giant corporations accountable for their misdeeds.

Over the last few years, the Justice Department and the S.E.C. have been assailed for delivering lashings to corporate malefactors that resemble a fanning with palm fronds. In response, the Justice Department and the S.E.C. would like us to think that they received the message and got tough. This summer, the Justice Department forced Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas to plead guilty to crimes. In some of its recent settlements, the S.E.C. has been requiring individuals and corporations admit that they did something wrong.

Such public statements of contrition have some degree of usefulness. It’s almost ridiculous that we consider it progress by merely forcing bad actors to admit the truth — but it is. For years, the Justice Department relied on deferred or non-prosecution agreements, requiring corporations to write big checks but face little or no other consequences. For years, the S.E.C.’s settlements by default included boilerplate clauses where the accused could pay up without either admitting or denying the charges. (Alas, the progress has been halting and the Doctrine of Immaculate Settlements is alive and well: Just last month, Morgan Stanleysettled with the agency for misleading investors in two residential mortgage-backed securities the firm sold. But, whoops, the agency forgot to get any admission of wrongdoing.)

Compelling an admission is merely the first vertebra of the spine insertion surgery. The problem with the Justice Department’s guilty pleas is that they lead to no further business consequences. And the new S.E.C. admissions policy doesn’t require defendants to cop to anything specific.

 

Read on.

WATCH: Russian bank offers free cat visits to boost mortgage lending

America should take notes from how one Russian lender is promoting the origination of its mortgages.

As someone who knows that a cat’s cuddle can solve any bad day, this not-totally-crazy idea sounds like a perfect solution to America’s drop in mortgage lending.

According to an article in the BBC, Russia’s largest bank and mortgage lender Sberbank is now loaning cats to clients who buy one of their mortgage products as a sign of good luck. The bank’s website posted video of the totally sane practice of bringing a caged cat to a new home, so that it can “bless” the purchase by crossing the threshold, and then carting the cat away… as a sign… of good luck.

Yes. Morris will help with the mortgage payments. As The Moscow Times reports: “A popular Russian superstition maintains that it is good luck if cats are first to enter a new home.” If that doesn’t work you can just have your toddler haul the hesitant feline in and throw it onto the floor, which happens around the 1:18 mark in the below video. Adorable!

Under the agreement, every new mortgage customer can choose the cat they want from photos listed on the bank’s website. The felines are delivered just in time for their housewarming party.

The bad news for customers is that they won’t be able to keep their feline. Terms of the offer say that the animal is only given so that it is the first to cross the threshold of the property – many Russians say a cat is sign of good luck to those moving into a new home – and is only available for two hours so the home-owners can take photos.

The meows will only last till the Dec. 14, and so far, there have been over 700 cats prancing across newly mortgaged homes in Russia.

Read on.

GOP OKs $350,000 in public money to sue President Obama, law firm’s contract with GOP expires on Jan. 5, 2015

Amazing.. A waste of taxpayers’ money!!!

 

Courthouse News:

WASHINGTON (CN) – House Republicans will pay BakerHostetler up to $350,000 in public money, plus expenses, to sue President Obama, according to a contract approved Monday.
BakerHostetler will get $500 an hour, according to the contract signed by BakerHostetler partner David Rivkin Jr., House of Representatives Counsel Kerry Kircher, and Committee on House Administration Chairwoman Candice Miller, R-Michigan.
The contract expires on Jan. 5, 2015, or when the presumed lawsuit reaches final judgment, “whichever comes first.”

And here is the GOP contract. Click here.

RBS, NatWest Fined $24M Over Faulty Mortgage Advice

Law360, New York (August 27, 2014, 12:12 PM ET) — The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority on Wednesday fined The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and its NatWest business £14.5 million ($24 million) for failing to provide suitable advice to consumers purchasing mortgages after investigating a series of transactions in 2012.

The financial regulatory body said the firms failed to consider how much consumers could afford and what mortgage terms were appropriate when making recommendations and also failed to help consumers consolidate debt properly.

“Taking out a mortgage is one of the most important financial decisions we…

 

Source: Law360

IMF’s Lagarde put under investigation in French fraud case

IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been put under formal investigation by French magistrates for alleged negligence in a political fraud affair dating from 2008 when she was finance minister.

Lagarde was questioned by magistrates in Paris this week for a fourth time under her existing status as a witness in the long-running saga over allegations that tycoon Bernard Tapie won a large arbitration payout due to his political connections.

“After three years of procedure, the sole surviving allegation is that through inadvertence or inattention I may have failed to intervene to block the arbitration that brought to an end the longstanding Tapie litigation,” she said in a statement on Wednesday. “I have instructed my lawyer to appeal this decision, which is without merit.”

Under French law, magistrates place a person under formal investigation when they believe there are indications of wrongdoing, but that does not always lead to a trial.

Read on.

5 big lenders to help lower military mortgage payments

Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC), Ocwen Loan Servicing (OCN), CitiMortgage (C) and Quicken Loans all committed to the Obama Administration’s new program to make it easier for active-duty servicemen and servicewoman to afford homes and help them save hundreds of dollars or more each year. Per TIME:  

Currently, Americans serving on active duty are eligible to have their home interest rates and some other debt fees capped at 6% under a 2003 law, but they must first prove their eligibility to lenders.

But according to the article, few service members utilize the benefits because they are either unaware or they don’t want to deal with the paperwork.

“We’re announcing a new partnership in which some of America’s biggest banks and financial institutions will simplify the process, proactively notify service members who qualify for lower rates and make it easier to enroll,” Obama said. “In other words, we’re going to help more of our troops and military families own their own home without a crushing debt.”

Source: TIME
 

What Did You Do On Your Vacation, John Boehner?

Remember this man is third in line for the presidency… Never mind the fact that there are bills in Congress left and not discussed or voted on…..Never mind that the fact the lawmakers haven’t done squat while in Washington for the American people. John Boehner released that monkey video to let us know that this is what he does in Washington.