Monthly Archives: September 2014

Florida bank to pay all employees “living wage”

The website for Florida’s First Green Bank says that the bank’s mission is to do the right thing for the environment, its people, its community and its shareholders.

The bank bills itself as “the first bank of its kind to promote positive environmental and social responsibility while operating as a traditional community bank.”

Now the bank is set to take that message a step further by paying all of its employees a “living wage.”

According to a report from CNN Money, the bank will be giving a raise to 17% of its 66 employees this week to raise their salaries to a level that’s at least double the minimum wage for the state of Florida.

Under that policy, no one will be paid less than $30,000 a year, or the hourly equivalent for part-time workers. That means the base pay at the bank will be roughly $14.40 an hour, or nearly double the Florida state minimum wage of $7.93.

“We don’t believe in low wages. We don’t need them to make money,” Kenneth LaRoe, the bank’s founder and CEO, told CNNMoney.

LaRoe said that he believes the new policy will help to attract and retain the best workers.

By next year, LaRoe’s goal is for 75% of his employees to earn an income that falls in at least the 90th percentile of pay for their positions and geographic location. In 2016, he wants that to be the case for 85% of his staff.

LaRoe expects to hit those goals in part by eliminating salary caps at the bank.

Until now, he said, if somebody hit the pay ceiling for their position, she couldn’t get a raise without a promotion.

“That’s just dumb,” LaRoe said. “If you’ve got the best teller in the world, why don’t you want to pay them the best wages?”

Source: CNN Money

CFPB’s new era of mortgage servicing enforcement for Flagstar Bank: Banning a servicer from servicing new loans until fixes are made

hands_clapping

From CFPB website, here is Director Richard Cordray’s remarks:

To remedy these wrongs, the Consumer Bureau is ordering Flagstar to halt any further violations of federal law. Flagstar must pay $27.5 million to consumers whose loans were being serviced by Flagstar and who were subject to its unlawful practices. At least $20 million of this amount will go to victims of foreclosure. Flagstar must also engage in outreach to affected borrowers who were not foreclosed on and offer them loss mitigation options. Flagstar must halt the foreclosure process, if one is happening, during this outreach and qualification process. Flagstar also is barred from acquiring servicing rights for default loan portfolios until it demonstrates that it is able to comply with the laws that protect consumers during the loss mitigation process. In addition, Flagstar will make a $10 million payment to the Bureau’s Civil Penalty Fund.

The Bureau has been clear that mortgage servicers must follow our new servicing rules and treat homeowners fairly. Today’s action signals a new era of enforcement to protect consumers against the cost of servicer runarounds. The financial crisis is still fresh in our minds and too many homeowners continue to feel its effects. We need all mortgage servicers to understand that they must step up and follow the law. We are working very hard to fulfill this objective. Thank you.

Body of missing Arkansas Realtor who was going show a foreclosed home to client found in shallow grave

This is very sad. For those that are real estate agents, be very careful out there…

The search for Beverly Carter, the Arkansas Realtor who has been missing since Sept. 25, ended tragically early Tuesday when her body was found in a shallow grave about 25 miles north of Little Rock.

Arron Lewis, of Jacksonville, was arrested Monday morning and now faces the death penalty, as he is being charged with capital murder and kidnapping.

Lewis entered a plea of not guilty to capital murder Tuesday morning.

“Lewis admitted to kidnapping Beverly Carter, but would not divulge her whereabouts,” the sheriff’s office said early Tuesday.

Lewis was taken to the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility on Monday after his arrest. Investigators said they obtained information that led them to the property where the grave was located.

Lewis told reporters she was chosen because “she was a woman that worked alone — a rich broker.”

(See video of the statement below article.)

Read on.

Bank of America to transfer Countrywide subprime loans to Select Portfolio Servicing

Bank of America (BAC) is set to break the logjam of legacy mortgage servicing rights transfers when it transfers the MSRs of 2,291 subprime loans that were originated by Countrywide Financial to Select Portfolio Servicing in November.

The legacy MSR market has been frozen by the New York Department of Financial Services, after the NYDFS, led by Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, put a $2.7 billion MSR deal between Ocwen and Wells Fargo (WFC) on an indefinite hold.

Last week, at ABS East, a massive conference on the securitization and secondary market in Miami, one panelist said that the MSRs on the loans that make up the pre-crash residential mortgage-backed securitizations are “at a standstill,” without an end in sight.

“We’re at a standstill until we get Mr. Lawsky out of the way in New York,” Michael Lau, CEO of Pingora Asset Management, said during a panel titled “Legacy RMBS: Risk Mitigation and Servicing Update.”

Now, it looks as though Bank of America is ready to push past Lawsky’s supposed freeze with a transfer of legacy MSRs to Select Portfolio Servicing, according to a note from Moody’s Investors Service.

Moody’s note stated that it was asked by Bank of America to review the ratings of three RMBS transactions to see if the servicing transfer would result in the downgrade or withdrawal of the RMBS’ ratings by Moody’s.

Moody’s stated that the servicing transfer, which is scheduled for November 1, “will not, in and of itself and at this time, result in a reduction or withdrawal of the current ratings on the securities issued by these transactions.”

The affected RMBS transactions are: CWABS Asset-Backed Certificates Trust 2005-10, CWABS Asset-Backed Certificates Trust 2006-4, and CWABS Asset-Backed Certificates Trust 2006-1, which were originated to Countrywide and transferred to Bank of America when it acquired the now-defunct company.

Read on.

ZeroHedge: America’s most important housing metro flashing red

ZeroHedge has long stated that San Francisco is the canary in the American housing coalmine, and after a double round of bad housing news, that canary is looking green around the gills. To wit:

Courtesy of [San Francisco’s] location, not only does it reflect the general Fed-driven liquidity bubble which is the tide rising all housing boats across the US, but due to its proximity to both Silicon Valley and China, it also benefits from two other liquidity bubbles: that of tech, and of course, the Chinese $25 trillion financial debt monster, where since the local housing bubble has burst, local oligarchs have no choice but to dump their cash abroad.

Well, in the aftermath of yesterday’s data which beyond a reasonable doubt showed that the Chinese housing bubble has burst, we can now report that the “flashing red” market that is San Francisco was just smacked by a “double whammy” perfect storm…

… which now also means that the ultra high end of US housing is now sliding fast, and that unless some other central banks steps up and resumes the injections of some $100 billion in outside money into inflating asset prices such as stocks and billionaire mansions, then all bets are soon off.

Read the full report with graphics here.

Source: ZeroHedge

Eric Holder’s Complex Legacy: Voting Rights Advocate, Enemy of Press Freedom, Friend of Wall Street

And that pretty much sums up the legacy of Eric Holder’s AG leadership…

Truthout.org:

AMY GOODMAN: Assessments of Eric Holder’s legacy as attorney general have been mixed. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund hailed Holder as one of the finest attorneys general in United States history, in part for his role in transforming the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and his leadership on voting rights.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union criticized Holder’s record on national security issues. The ACLU notes, during Holder’s time in office, the Justice Department approved the drone killing of an American in Yemen, approved the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, failed to prosecute any Bush administration officials for torture, and presided over more leak prosecutions than all previous Justice Departments combined.

…………………………….

AMY GOODMAN: On Thursday, President Obama applauded Eric Holder for his work combating financial fraud.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: He’s helped safeguard our markets from manipulation and consumers from financial fraud. Since 2009, the Justice Department has brought more than 60 cases against financial institutions and won some of the largest settlements in history for practices related to the financial crisis, recovering $85 billion, much of it returned to ordinary Americans who were badly hurt.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s President Obama hailing the record of Eric Holder, who announced his resignation yesterday, though it might well be a long time before he leaves, because a replacement will have to be approved. Rob Weissman of Public Citizen, your response?

ROBERT WEISSMAN: Well, I think that Eric Holder’s record in the area of financial fraud and holding corporate criminals accountable is really radically different than his record in the area of civil rights and voting rights. In this area, he has failed utterly. No one has been held accountable for the Wall Street crash, none of the Wall Street executives, none of the Wall Street firms, for widespread financial misdeeds that led to the worst recession we’ve faced in 70 years, tens of millions of people being thrown out of work, millions of people being thrown out of their homes. There was basically immunity. And in fact, when the Department of Justice under Eric Holder found evidence of large financial firms engaging in epic-level money laundering on behalf of narcotraffickers and countries the U.S. government considers to be enemies, it still decided not to criminally prosecute them, on the grounds that they were too big to fail, or, as it became known, too big to jail. Essentially, a decision was taken that if you are a financial institution and you become big enough and powerful enough, you are above the criminal law. And unfortunately, that, too, is going to be a major part of Eric Holder’s legacy.

 

 

 

UBS In Forex-Rigging Settlement Talks, Warns Of Fines

Law360, Los Angeles (September 29, 2014, 10:29 PM ET) — UBS AG told investors Monday it could face a “material” fine by regulators over its alleged role in a scheme to manipulate the $5.3 trillion global foreign exchange market, saying that it was in settlement talks with at least one agency.

The Swiss bank said some investigating authorities “have initiated discussions of possible terms of a resolution” of their probe into whether UBS and others rigged the forex market, though it didn’t specify which regulators it was in talks with, according to a prospectus Monday….

Source: Law360