Daily Archives: October 10, 2014

The Foreclosure Crisis Economic Violence Shatters the ‘Dream’ for Millions

Written by Martin Luther King III

Last year, my family and I were honored to join millions around the world in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landmark “March on Washington.” Beyond the powerful exhortation against racism of my father’s “I Have a Dream” speech, however, the organizers were demanding economic justice, along with civil rights, for African Americans and all who were being shut out of the ‘American Dream.’

Today, the disproportionate impact of the foreclosure crisis in communities of color – 17 foreclosures per 1,000 homes in minority zip codes as opposed to 10 per 1,000 in white communities – underscores the collateral damage of the greed-fueled push to force struggling families of all ethnicities to forfeit their own pieces of the ‘Dream.’

My father spent a lifetime working to combat the destructive trifecta of poverty, racism, and violence. In our view, the growing dissolution of homeownership, the primary opportunity for building net wealth for hard-working Americans, constitutes nothing less than “economic violence” being perpetrated against the most financially vulnerable constituency.

In the context of the foreclosure crisis as violence against homeowners, it occurred to me that the six steps for nonviolent social change that my father used in many of his most successful campaigns could be applied to launch an inclusive movement to address and resolve the issues surrounding forced foreclosures.

Nonviolence is a time-honored process with the following phases: (1) Information Gathering; (2) Education; (3) Personal Commitment; (4) Discussion/Negotiation; (5) Direct Action; and (6) Reconciliation. The objective is simply to defeat injustice, not an opponent, through reasoned and non-hostile compromise. And that is our mission.

In January 2013, we participated in a national community outreach effort sponsored by the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR), an entity established by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Office of Thrift Supervision to assist in providing remediation for affected homeowners. Although nearly eight million persons were reached directly and indirectly through churches across the country, we were shocked to learn that the IFR was abruptly terminated before it could even begin to help a single borrower.

Since the beginning of the housing crisis, some 4.9 million homeowners are in foreclosure and 1.9 million families continue to struggle to stay current on their mortgages, with a large percentage of them “under water.”

Read on.

Bank of America tells more workers to come into the office instead of working from office

Some Bank of America Charlotte-area employees who have been allowed to work from home are losing that option as the lender scales back its roughly 10-year-old telecommuting program, the Observer has learned.

The move is the latest example of the bank limiting eligibility for its “My Work” program, under which some employees can work from home or designated locations in the Charlotte area rather than a traditional office. Thousands of employees in Charlotte have worked under the program over the years, which the company has also made available to employees in other states.

Bank of America declined to say how many workers are being told they now must work from the office, but an affected employee told the Observer he knows of at least 50 colleagues who will no longer be telecommuting.

FCA Charges Six Banks With Forex Manipulation

Six global financial giants have been indicted by UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for maintaining weak internal control systems in their foreign exchange units and for manipulating the $5.3 trillion-a-day currency markets.

According to various sources, the six banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Barclays PLC (BCS), Citigroup Inc (C), HSBC Holdings PLC (ADR) (HSBC), Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (ADR) (RBS) and UBS AG (UBS). And have received letters from the FCA, which stated its research findings regarding the probe and declared a deadline of November to settle the deliberations.

Read on.

Dimon Sees Cyber-Security Spending Doubling After Hack

Gee, ya think, Jamie???

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said the biggest U.S. bank will probably double its $250 million annual computer-security budget within the next five years.

Dimon, whose company recently disclosed that an attack by hackers exposed contact information of 76 million households and 7 million small businesses, made the remarks today at an event sponsored by the Institute of International Finance in Washington.

“It’s about firewall protection, it’s about internal protection, it’s about vendor protection, it’s about everything that hooks up into you,” said Dimon, 58. “There will be a lot of battles. Unfortunately some will be lost.”

Read on.

Darden activist ousts Olive Garden owner’s full board

Activist shareholder Starboard Value LP won its standoff with Darden Restaurants Inc (>> Darden Restaurants, Inc.), convincing shareholders to replace the entire board of the Olive Garden parent, a rare victory for dissident investors.

The election of Starboard’s 12-director slate, announced Friday at Darden’s annual meeting, was a feather in the cap for the New York hedge fund, Darden’s second-largest investor with an 8.8 percent stake.

It was a stinging defeat for Darden, which this year alienated investors by brushing off their vote requesting a special meeting to debate the company’s then-proposed sale of its struggling Red Lobster chain.

Read on.

Jon Stewart blasts ex-AIG chief: ‘Go f*** yourself’ for crying over $184 billion bailout

Daily Show host Jon Stewart shredded former AIG head Hank Greenberg for arguing that the federal government stiffed his company with a $184 billion bailout package six years ago, saying his company did a lot better than the average person did asking for a loan from AIG.

“Hello, Mr. Greenberg,” Stewart said, impersonating a loan officer. “You’ve asked us for $184.6 billion for 90 percent of your company, which is only worth $15 billion … go f*ck yourself.”

Stewart pointed out that, while the U.S. paid more than 1,000 percent of AIG’s market value at the time of the bailout, Greenberg filed a lawsuit painting himself as a victim of government extortion.

Read on.

Full Text of Letter: Wells Fargo Employee Calls Out CEO’s Pay, Requests Company-Wide Raise

The full text of Tyrel Oates’, a customer relations worker who makes $15 per hour at the bank in Oregon, letter to Wells Fargo CEO is below. (Bold has been added for emphasis.)

Mr. Stumpf,

With the increasing focus on income inequality in the United States. Wells Fargo has an opportunity to be at the forefront of helping to reduce this by setting the bar, leading by example, and showing the other large corporations that it is very possible to maintain a profitable company that not only looks out for its consumers and shareholders, but its employees as well.

This year Wells Fargo in its second quarter alone had a net income of $5.7 billion, and total revenue of $21.1 billion. These are very impressive numbers, and is obvious evidence that Wells Fargo is one of, if not the most profitable company in the nation right now. So, why not take some of this and distribute it to the rest of the employees.

Sure, the company provides while not great, some pretty good benefits, as well as discretionary profit sharing for those who partake in our 401k program. While the benefits are nice, the profit sharing through the 401k only goes to make the company itself and its shareholders more profitable, and not really boost the income of the thousands of us here every day making this company the prestigious power house that it is.

Last year, you had pulled in over $19 million, more than most of the employees will see in our lifetimes. It is understood that your position carries a lot of weight and responsibility; however, with a base salary of $2.8 million and bonuses equating to $4 million, is alone one of the main arguments of income inequality. Where the vast majority, the undeniable profit drivers, with the exception of upper management positions barely make enough to live comfortably on their own, the distribution of income in this company is no better than that of the other big players in the corporate world.

My estimate is that Wells Fargo has roughly around 300,000 employees. My proposal is take $3 billion dollars, just a small fraction of what Wells Fargo pulls in annually, and raise every employees annual salary by $10,000 dollars. This equates to an hourly raise about $4.71 per hour. Think, as well, of the positive publicity in a time of extreme consumer skepticism towards banks. By doing this, Wells Fargo will not only help to make its people, its family, more happy, productive, and financially stable, it will also show the rest of the United States, if not the world that, yes big corporations can have a heart other than philanthropic endeavors.

A copy of the letter was posted to Reddit.

P.S. – To all of my fellow team members who receive a copy of this email.Though Wells Fargo does not allow the formation of unions, this does not mean we cannot stand united. Each and every one of us plays an integral part in the success of this company. It is time that we ask, no, it is time that we demand to be rightfully compensated for the hard work that we accomplish, and for the great part we all have played in the success of this company. There are many of us out there who come to work every day and give it our all, yet, we struggle to make ends meet while our peers in upper management and company executives reap the majority of the rewards. One of our lowest scored TMCS questions is that our opinions matter. Well they do! This email has been sent to hundreds of thousands Wells Fargo employees, (as many as I could cc from the outlook global address book). And while the voice of one person in a world as large as ours may seem only like a whisper, the combined voices of each and all of us can move mountains!

With the warmest of regards,