Daily Archives: November 18, 2014

U.S., Wells Fargo not as ‘optimistic’ about lawsuit settlement: lawyer

Wells Fargo & Co and the U.S. Department of Justice are “no longer as optimistic” about settling a lawsuit accusing the country’s largest mortgage lender of fraud, a lawyer for the bank said on Tuesday.

Douglas Baruch, a lawyer for Wells Fargo, told a federal judge in Manhattan that while the parties would not rule out a settlement, both sides were prepared to resume litigating after putting the case on hold since July.

“The parties are no longer as optimistic as they once were,” he said.

Two weeks ago, the San Francisco-based bank disclosed in a regulatory filing that it was in discussions to resolve the lawsuit, filed in 2012, which seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

The U.S. Justice Department says Wells Fargo failed to report more than 6,000 loans that did not meet requirements for insurance under the Federal Housing Administration and failed to properly review early payment defaults.

Read on.

Valley widow, Wells Fargo battle over old CD

Wells Fargo CD


Five years ago, at the height of the Valley’s housing crisis, Rosemarie Braunstein found an old certificate of deposit tucked among her things. It was her golden ticket.

“This would be the answer to everything. The answer to my prayers,” said Braunstein, a widow facing foreclosure on her Phoenix home.

Her late husband bought the CD for $18,000 in 1984 from First Interstate Bank. At the time, it was common practice for the couple who owned a towing company to invest in CDs, she said.

“Going back in the ’80s, that was the way you made your money,” Braunstein said.

Since the certificate was on the smaller side, Braunstein said, her husband gave it to her and told her to put it away for a rainy day.

She placed it with her children’s birth certificates and immunization records and didn’t think of it again until 2009, when she was forced to put her house on the market.

Today, as she takes care of her baby granddaughter, she said she is still waiting for her money.

“I feel like David and Goliath. I feel like I’m the little one, trying to slay the giant,” Braunstein said.

That giant is Wells Fargo and the battle is being fought now in court.

First Interstate merged with Norwest before being bought out by Wells Fargo, which refuses to honor her CD.

“They practically almost laughed at me. Honestly,” Braunstein said.

Wells Fargo declined a request for an interview.

Read more: http://www.kpho.com/story/27411027/valley-widow-wells-fargo-battle-over-old-cd#ixzz3JSBuwdcU

Wells Fargo settles bonus squabble for $7.4M

Wells Fargo Advisors has agreed to pay $7.42 million to settle a class action claim that the firm wrongly withheld incentive compensation from former advisers.

Two former Wells Fargo brokers, Kennison Wakefield and William Stonhaus, argued as part of a class action claim that the firm unlawfully forced brokers to forfeit a portion of their deferred compensation when they moved to other firms, according to a complaint filed in September 2013.

The settlement will provide a total of $5.56 million to around 135 affected brokers in California and North Dakota, where the plaintiffs argued the compensation plans violated state law, according to court documents in the U.S. District Court of California, Northern District. The other approximately $1.86 million is reserved for legal expenses, according to court documents.

Read on.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi To Pay $315M Over Sanctions Violations

Law360, New York (November 18, 2014, 11:38 AM ET) — The New York Department of Financial Services on Tuesday slapped Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ with an additional $315 million penalty for allegedly misleading regulators about its transactions with Iran, Sudan and other entities under U.S. sanctions.

The $315 million penalty comes on top of a $250 million fine New York’s financial regulator applied against the Japanese bank in June 2013. A yearlong investigation into BTMU’s activities found that Japan’s largest bank pressured its consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers, into removing key warnings in a report the bank submitted…

Source: Law360

3 Senate bills that could strengthen credit union mortgage lending

Credit unions are enduring a crisis of creeping complexity with respect to regulatory burden, and the Credit Union National Association believes at least three bipartisan bills currently before the U.S. Senate could alleviate some of that drag.

The ever-increasing, never-decreasing regulatory burden erects barriers to their ability to serve their members, particularly in the mortgage space, CUNA says.

“The enactment of these bills would represent a small step in the right direction toward removing barriers to credit union service,” said Jim Nussle, president of CUNA. “As the Senate reassembles for the remaining weeks of the 113th Congress, we urge passage of these important bills.”

The 113th Congress could, despite its lame duck status, pass these bills before the Christmas recess and the swearing in of the 114th Congress in 2015.

Read on.

Seven big U.S. companies paid CEOs more than Uncle Sam in 2013: study

Boeing Co, Ford Motor Co,  Chevron Corp, Citigroup Inc., Verizon Communications Inc.,  JPMorgan Chase & Co., and General Motors Co.

Seven of the 30 largest U.S. corporations paid more money to their chief executive officers last year than they paid in U.S. federal income taxes, according to a study released on Tuesday that was disputed by at least one of the companies.

Amid talk in Washington about corporate tax reform, the study said the seven companies, which in 2013 reported more than $74 billion in combined U.S. pre-tax profits, came out ahead on their taxes, gaining $1.9 billion more than they owed.

At the same time, the CEOs at each of the seven companies last year was paid an average of $17.3 million, said the study, compiled by two Washington think tanks.

The seven companies cited were Boeing Co (>> The Boeing Company), Ford Motor Co (>> Ford Motor Company), Chevron Corp (>> Chevron Corporation), Citigroup Inc (>> Citigroup Inc), Verizon Communications Inc (>> Verizon Communications Inc.), JPMorgan Chase & Co (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.) and General Motors Co (>> General Motors Company).

The Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government, the study’s co-authors, said its findings reflected “deep flaws in our corporate tax system.”

Read on.


Proof at trial – Variable Rate Loans

Matt Weidner law blog:

There exists in the judicial system an idea that foreclosure trials are easy. That only four documents are needed to foreclose on a uniform mortgage (note, mortgage, payment history, and a paragraph 22 letter). That a trial can be done in five minutes. Finally, that a bank is presupposed a victory.


This idea; that foreclosure trials are easy, is flawed. In this post, I want to address the notion that only four documents are needed to foreclose.


There are already cases that dispel the four document myth. In the context of standing, we not only need the holder of the note, but the owner if the bank is proceeding under an agency theory. If the Plaintiff contends that there is a paragraph 22 letter, it also needs to prove that the letter was actually sent (and in compliance with the mortgage itself). Recently, a new case came out of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal that requires additional documents to prove up damages in a foreclosure on a variable rate note and accompanying mortgage.


Specifically, on November 12, 2014, the Court in Salauddin v. Bank of America, No. 4D13-2747, held that a bank must prove  “whether there were any changes in the interest rate based on the adjustable rate clause in the note, and what those changes were.” This case is clear in that failure to prove interest rate changes wont prevent a foreclosure, but it will result in a reduction of damages based on the amount of interest charged and proven.


In my view, the actual holding of this case provides less value than the underlying analysis. Instead of just allowing a foreclosure because the bank has four magical documents, we must actually look at those documents and the bank must prove compliance with each and every element of those documents and the rules of procedure. We cannot just allow the bank’s to foreclose because they happen to present a note at trial. There are additional requirements that are too often overlooked by some in the judiciary.