Daily Archives: February 20, 2015

NYPD’s idea of reform included breath mints and baby oil

lol! I thought I heard it all…

Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered sweeping reforms for the NYPD after the Eric Garner death — but his demands were handled by a goofball police bigwig whose ideas included arming cops with breath mints and spraying protesters with baby oil, sources revealed Thursday.

Michael Julian, who was appointed deputy commissioner of training in November, lasted just two months on the job before his ridiculed proposals got him transferred out, the sources said.

“He would come up with these wacky ideas. We would roll our eyes and move on,” a police source said.

The last straw came in late January — less than a week before Julian was reassigned — when a box of 10,000 individually wrapped breath mints arrived at headquarters.

Julian explained to skeptical cops that officers should pop mints in their mouth when they feel the need to curse, police sources said.

Read on.

Hedge fund BlueMountain sends second default notice to Ocwen affiliate

A second default notice?? lol! Blue Mountain needs to foreclose on Ocwen.

Feb 20 (Reuters) – Hedge fund BlueMountain Capital Management LLC sent a second default notice to an affiliate of mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial Corp over certain notes it holds.

HLSS Servicer Advance Receivables Trust, a key funding source for Ocwen and a unit of Home Loan Servicing Solutions Ltd , was served a notice last month.

BlueMountain said on Thursday recent downgrades of Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC’s servicer quality by Moody’s Investors Service Inc and Fitch Ratings Inc automatically gave rise to defaults.

Read on.

CFTC commissioner’s stock sales questioned by Warren, Cummings


WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Two Democratic members of Congress questioned the stock sales made by a commisioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee on Government Reform, and Elizabeth Warren, the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Economic Policy, sent a letter to CFTC Commissioner Christopher Giancarlo regarding his previous employment at GFI Group GFIG, +0.83%

In the letter, Warren and Cummings note that after Giancarlo was confirmed by the Senate, he received a $2.15 million severance payment and sold approximately 60,000 shares of stock in the company.

Between July 25 and Sept. 12, 2014, there was a significant rise in GFI stock due to a bidding war between CME Group CME, +0.19%   and BGE Partners. Giancarlo sold his final shares on Sept. 12, 2014, when the stock reached a five-year high.

Five of the seven tranches that Giancarlo sold were conducted during that time.

“It is critical that CFTC commissioners and staff avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest,” the letter said.

The letter requests that Giancarlo give a copy of his final employment agreement with GFI and any copies of previous agreements, a copy of his CFTC ethics agreement, a copy of any other documents given to him by federal regulators on conflict of interest, and a copy of his GFI stock trading plan.

House Bill Would Force Big Banks to Compete in Free Market

It’s been a bleak winter for financial reformers in the United States. Legislators have introduced, and in some cases passed, a number of bills that aim to gut various components of the Dodd-Frank Act. But one Congressman recently introduced a bill that makes reform prospects for the spring look a whole lot better.

Last week, Rep. Michael Capuano introduced The Subsidy Reserve Act of 2015, also known as H.R. 888. The bill should be welcomed by those of us who are tired of seeing our taxes diverted from critical investments in education, infrastructure, and healthcare in order to bail out or subsidize big banks.

The bill will require U.S. banks with over $500 billion in assets to calculate and accumulate capital equal to the amount of the market subsidy they receive from taxpayers. The Federal Reserve Board, Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Office of Financial Research would “establish a formula for determining the financial benefit” received by a large bank “as a result of the expectations of shareholders, creditors, and counterparties” that it would be rescued by the government in the event of failure.

Read on.


Good news for Wells Fargo and OneWest, but more foreclosure trouble may be brewing if banks haven’t followed all rules

our years into what has become a protracted state review of foreclosure cases brought by New Jersey’s six largest mortgage lenders, the courts have approved the document-handling procedures of two of the big banks.

But even as he accepted the recent foreclosure practices of Wells Fargo and OneWest Bank, the special master in charge of the monitoring– retired state Supreme Court Judge Richard Williams — said the banks have only nominally cooperated on a key issue. That finding could send the matter back to where it began at the state Supreme Court.

The issue at stake is whether the lender’s lawyers have done enough to verify information supplied by the bank’s employees.

For now, though, the findings are good news for the two banks, relieving them of ongoing scrutiny of their foreclosures.

“We continue to work with the New Jersey court system to process foreclosures according to all applicable state and federal laws,” said Kevin Friedlander, regional corporate communications manager for Wells Fargo.

In the wake of an intervention by state Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in December 2010, Friedlander said, “Loans that are in the foreclosure pipeline appear to be moving through the process better and proceeding to foreclosure sale when no other options are available to borrowers.”

Still, critics of the banks are not pleased, suggesting the effort by the high court to clean up foreclosure cases has fallen short.

Read on.

The Foreclosure Crisis is Behind Us? Where? Who says?

This won’t take long. It’s not like I want to write about this topic. It’s just that I feel obligated to say something here, because if you’re reading the mainstream news… or the lack of mainstream news… it could seem that the foreclosure crisis is now behind us… AND IT’S NOT.

In fact, I can tell you that it’s not even close.

Maybe the mainstream media has simply gotten tired of the topic. And it’s not like they’ve ever had a particularly good handle on what’s going on in real life when it come to foreclosures in general. So, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at the latest coverage, or lack thereof.

But I am surprised.

As recently as September of last year, RealtyTrac has been reporting that the crisis is “well behind us.” In its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for August 2014, were reported on 116,913 U.S. properties in August, an increase of 7 percent from the previous month but still down 9 percent from a year ago.

Now, it’s important to realize that RealtyTrac defines “foreclosure filings” as including, “default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.” That means that all of the delinquent loans on which no Notice of Default has been sent out… yet… aren’t included. And there are always plenty of those. (For the record, I wrote about RealtyTrac’s September 2014 report on September 20th last year, and explained in detail what I found to be wrong or misleading.)

Still, RealtyTrac concludes the report’s numbers as reflecting, “the smallest decrease in the last 47 consecutive months of year-over-year declines in U.S. foreclosure activity.”

And, RealtyTrac’s vice president, Daren Blomquist, referring to the September 2014 report was quoted as saying…

“The August foreclosure numbers demonstrate that although the foreclosure crisis is well behind us, the messy business of cleaning up the distress lingering from the housing bust continues in many markets. The annual increase in foreclosure auctions — the first since the robo-signing controversy rocked the foreclosure industry back in late 2010 — indicates mortgage servicers are finally adjusting to the new paradigms for proper foreclosure that have been implemented in many states, whether by legislation or litigation or both.”

Read on.


In Corporate Crimes, Individual Accountability Is Elusive

Deadly Clear

20stewart-web-articleLargeBrandon L. Garrett is a specialist in corporate prosecution at the University of Virginia law school and author of the recent book “Too Big to Jail.”  By Khue Bui for The New York Times

“We have never hesitated to investigate and prosecute any individual, institution or organization that attempted to exploit our markets and take advantage of the American people,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. proclaimed this month when the Justice Department announced that Standard & Poor’s, the ratings agency, had agreed to pay $1.375 billion to settle civil charges that it inflated ratings on mortgage-backed securities at the heart of the financial crisis.

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