Daily Archives: January 9, 2015

Senator Grassley Demands Answers on Red Cross’ Finances

Citing an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, Sen. Charles Grassley is asking the American Red Cross to explain more clearly how it uses public donations, specifying how much money goes to services and how much to overhead.

“The public’s expectation for an important, well-known organization like the Red Cross is complete, accurate fundraising and spending information,” Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. “In reaction to the news reports on this topic, I’m asking the Red Cross to elaborate on how it calculates the facts and figures given to the donating public.”

Americans typically look to the Red Cross whenever disaster strikes, giving generously. The iconic charity took in over $1 billion in donations in 2013.

In response to Grassley’s request, the Red Cross said it is setting up a briefing for the senator’s staff that will happen sometime later this month. “We welcome and look forward to the opportunity,” Red Cross spokeswoman Suzy DeFrancis said.

Grassley’s request was first reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

At issue are statements made by Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern and echoed on the charity’s website and in other published materials that “91 cents of every dollar that’s donated goes to our services.”

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Ocwen facing ‘legal actions’ after admitting internal problems

Ocwen may be getting rid of Chairman Bill Erbey, but not its problems.

The embattled mortgage servicer could face an onslaught of “legal actions” from state and federal regulators this year after the company admitted to a slew of internal problems that led to the downfall of its founder and chairman, according to a research report.

The legal pressure could come from as many as 49 state regulators, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, Deutsche Bank analyst Ying Shen wrote in a Wednesday report.

Ocwen is the largest non-bank US mortgage servicer, with about $430 billion in loans, according to Shen.

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Full OIG Report on ‘London Whale’ Incident

WSJ:

The 77-page report sheds new light on tensions between the Fed and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversaw J.P. Morgan, as well as between Fed staff in Washington and New York.

 

Rep. Jim Himes Thinks Deregulating $100 Billion In Risky Debt Is ‘A Tweak’

And remember, Jim Hines is an ex-Goldman Sachs banker.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) on Thursday defended an 11-point Wall Street deregulation bill that his own party defeated on the House floor the day before. Himes echoed GOP talking points to criticize Democrats who opposed the legislation, while insisting that public unrest over big bank favors was all just a big misunderstanding.

“This was a bill that took 10 or 11, I think ‘tweaks’ is probably the right word, that had been discussed and debated and actually passed … in the last Congress,” Himes said on C-SPAN. He characterized the deregulation bill as a set of “minor adjustments to Dodd-Frank,” the 2010 financial reform law.

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After Surprising Defeat, House GOP Vows To Make A Second Run At Relaxing Wall Street Reform

Despite the win for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) wing of the Democratic Party, the House Rules Committee announced Thursday evening that the lower chamber would take another crack at the bill, HR 37. Without two-thirds, however, Republicans will be unable to overcome the veto President Barack Obama promised Wednesday night.

The House Rules Committee will take up the bill Monday night, and it’s expected to go to the floor under normal rules.

The willingness to bring the bill back to the floor is a sign Republicans have not been scared off of attempts to chip away at Wall Street reform by the populist mood Himes described.

The bill would allow banks to hold onto billions of dollars in risky collateralized loan obligations for two additional years by amending the Volcker Rule, which is part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The rule bans banks from speculating in securities markets with taxpayer funds, requiring them to dump their CLO holdings. A Volcker Rule delay would be a major boon to the nation’s largest banks. Between 94 percent and 96 percent of the domestic CLO market is held by banks with at least $50 billion in assets, according to federal regulators, who value the market at between $80 billion and $105 billion. Of that total, about half is owned by just two banks: JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.

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New York Fed attacked watchdog’s JPMorgan ‘Whale’ probe

The New York Federal Reserve Bank sharply criticized an internal probe carried out by the Fed’s inspector general on the handling of J.P. Morgan’s “London Whale” case, according to a full version of the probe released on Thursday.

The New York Fed said the inspector general was wrong to criticise examiners for failing to prioritise exams of J.P. Morgan’s chief investment office, according to the report.

The full report reveals an unusual and barbed clash between the Fed’s New York branch and its internal auditor. The New York Fed – the central bank’s eyes and ears on Wall Street – faced criticism on several fronts last year. The most damaging was the disclosure of secretly recorded tapes that portrayed New York Fed examiners as hesitant to demand answers and changes from Goldman Sachs officials.

The Fed’s Office of the Inspector General released a 4-page summary report in October that criticised the New York Fed’s handling of the huge JPMorgan credit derivative trading losses in Europe in 2012. The trading position grew so large that traders referred to it as the “London Whale.” The losses were connected to the bank’s chief investment office and ballooned to $6.2 billion (4 billion pounds) by the end of that year.

The 77-page report released on Thursday marked the first time the New York Fed’s criticism of the probe was made public. The initial report contained redactions and was released after freedom of information requests from the media.

Read on.