Daily Archives: March 3, 2015

CEO Jamie Dimon Says He Feels Sorry For JPMorgan’s Investment Bank

JPMorgan’s investment bank was the stronger part of the bank, and the consumer bank, Chase, suffered during the financial crisis. Now, the situation has reversed to such an extent that Goldman Sachs thinks JPMorgan should spin off its investment bank segment and focus on Chase, according to the New York Times. 

Gordon Smith, head of the consumer bank and favorite to succeed CEO Jamie Dimon if needed, sounded optimistic, particularly about the potential of mobile for the bank and consumer lending. Daniel Pinto, head of the investment bank, discussed necessary cutbacks. CEO Jamie Dimon said to investors, after Pinto’s presentation, “I tell Daniel and all the guys, all the folks from the investment bank, it’s really weird to feel sorry for the investment bank, isn’t it? You have to confess.”

Read on.

Investors want the world’s largest banks to be sliced up

Investors are trying to do what Janet Yellen can’t.

They are circling around some of the world’s largest banks, pushing for a breakup into as many as four different companies, as expensive regulations from Yellen’s Federal Reserve make “too big to fail” a heavy burden for shareholders.

While JPMorgan — the largest US bank by assets — has been called upon to split up, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and HSBC are also in the too-big-to-fail camp and shareholders say they’re getting less bang for their buck, Ryan Mendy, chief operating officer of analyst firm The Edge Group, told The Post.

And those banks could get broken up by 2018, he added.

“At the end of the day, who cares about the bank as it is?” Mendy said. “It’s about the shareholder, it’s about the pension funds.”

Investors would get the most value if banks like JPM, HSBC and other gargantuans were broken up into a commercial bank for lending, an investment bank and an asset management company, Mendy said.

Read on.

hdr22@clintonemail.com – How A Romanian Hacker Exposed Hillary Clinton’s Secret Email Life


How is it possible that a Romanian convict may have helped accelerate the downfall of Warren Buffett’s presidential hopeful? According to the Smoking Gun, which first reported on this topic back in March 2013, “Guccifer” illegally accessed the AOL e-mail account of Sidney Blumenthal, who then worked as a senior White House adviser to President Bill Clinton, and later became a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

When “Guccifer” (who was later identified as Marcel Lazar Lehel) breached Blumenthal’s account, he discovered an assortment of correspondence sent to Hillary Clinton at the e-mail address hdr22@clintonemail.com. The “clintonemail.com” domain was registered in 2009, shortly after her nomination to become Secretary of State.

While Blumenthal, a longtime Hillary Clinton confidant, used her private e-mail to send personal messages (like a get well note after she fell at home and suffered a concussion in December 2012), he also forwarded the Cabinet member a series of “Confidential” memos about foreign policy matters.

A snapshot of one leaked email between Blumenthal and Clinton can be seen below:

If Clinton used her own account only emails like the one above, it would be perfectly ok. It wasn’t.

Using her personal clintonemail.com address, the “For: Hillary, From: Sid” memos, provided to TSG by “Guccifer,” address a wide range of topics in global flashpoints like Algeria, Turkey, Mali, and Libya. Blumenthal also provided Clinton with information about the European Central Bank, the Georgia elections, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Here is a snapshot of the inbox:

All of this happened through a personal email account, using a small Jacksonville, FL shell registrar called Perfect Privacy LLC, which is owned by web.com.

Statement from the Justice Department on the Criminal Charges Against David Petraeus

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Statement from the Justice Department on the Criminal Charges Against David Petraeus

Justice Department Spokesman Marc Raimondi released the following statement Tuesday:

“Three documents – a criminal Information, a plea agreement, and a statement of facts – were filed today in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina’s Charlotte Division in the case of United States v. David Howell Petraeus.  The criminal Information charges the defendant with one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1924.  The plea agreement and corresponding statement of facts, both signed by the defendant, indicate that he will plead guilty to the one-count criminal Information.”

Petraeus Plea Agreement

Petraeus Bill of Information

Petraeus Factual Basis

Source: Justice Dept. website

Realtor’s client murdered during home showing

A gunman bust into a home and opened fire while a real estate agent was showing a home to a married couple, killing the husband, a recent article in the Sun Sentinel said.

“I was just showing the house, and my buyer was killed,” real estate agent Thomas Dwyer said about the 10 a.m. shooting on the 2700 block of Northwest Sixth Court, just outside Fort Lauderdale. “He just came into the house and started firing.”

The victim was identified Friday as Kenol Jean, 51, of Pompano Beach.

The potential homebuyer, Jean, was reportedly a sergent in the Haitian military.

An arrest still has not been made, but detectives believe that robbery was the motive. One report specualtes that a gold chain Jean was wearing prompted the crime.

The house had only been put on the market since Tuesday and was newly renovated.

This tragic event is not the first attack on real estate agents but continues to remind agents that they must take care and precautions to protect themselves, given the exposed nature of the business.

Back in July, following an arrest by the Philadelphia police in connection with a carjacking of a Realtor, HousingWire published an article over 10 steps from the National Association of Realtors on how to stay safe. It’s unclear if securing the property once everyone was inside would have made a difference.

Here is another look on what those ten tips were:

  1. If possible, always try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house.
  2. Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial.
  3. Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
  4. Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
  5. Have all open house visitors sign in. Ask for full name, address, phone number and e-mail.
  6. When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
  7. Avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms.
  8. Notify someone in your office, your answering service, a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to call you.
  9. Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
  10. Don’t assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.
Source: Sun Sentinel

DOJ fines JPMorgan Chase $50 million for robo-signing


Chase admits to misfiling mortgage documents

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) admitted to misfiling more than 50,000 payment change notices in bankruptcy courts that were “improperly signed, under penalty of perjury, by persons who had not reviewed the accuracy of the notices,” and will pay more than $50 million to homeowners as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over its mortgage practices.

The DOJ announced Tuesday that it reached a settlement agreement with Chase, under which Chase admits that more than 25,000 of the 50,000 fraudulent notices were signed in the names of former employees or of employees who had nothing to do with reviewing the accuracy of the filings.

The rest of the notices were signed by individuals employed by a third party vendor on matters unrelated to checking the accuracy of the filings, the DOJ also said.

“It is shocking that the conduct admitted to by Chase in this settlement, including the filing of tens of thousands of documents in court that never had been reviewed by the people who attested to their accuracy, continued as long as it did,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery.

“Such unlawful and abusive banking practices can deprive American homeowners of a fair chance in the bankruptcy system, and we will not tolerate them.”

JPMorgan Chase responded to the DOJ’s statement announcing the settlement and took issue with the DOJ’s choice of phrase.

“We do not think it is accurate to characterize as ‘robo-signing’ a process in which a bank employee reviewed the accuracy of the information in each payment change notice. Here, bank employees reviewed the accuracy of the information in the 50,000 PCNs and the notices were accurate over 99% of the time,” Chase Vice President and Head of External Communications Jason Lobo said.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Chase will pay more than $50 million to more than 25,000 homeowners who are currently or previously were in bankruptcy. The payments will be made in the form of cash payments, mortgage loan credits and loan forgiveness, including:

  • $22.4 million in credits and second lien forgiveness to about 400 homeowners who received inaccurate payment increase notices during their bankruptcy cases
  • $10.8 million to more than 12,000 homeowners in bankruptcy through credits or refunds for payment increases or decreases that were not timely filed in bankruptcy court and noticed to the homeowners
  • $4.8 million to more than 18,000 homeowners who did not receive accurate and timely escrow statements. This includes credits for taxes and insurance owed by the homeowners and paid by Chase during periods covered by escrow statements that were not timely filed and transmitted to homeowners
  • $4.9 million, through payment of approximately $600 per loan, to more than 8,000 homeowners whose escrow Chase may have applied in a manner inconsistent with escrow statements it provided to the homeowners
  • $7.5 million to the American Bankruptcy Institute’s endowment for financial education and support for the Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program

Bank ‘break-ins’ show need to update WA foreclosure law

When John Beal set his sights on a target, he knew just what to look for. If nobody was home, he might decide to break in.

Beal wasn’t a burglar. He used to work for banks and loan servicers, locking up and protecting homes that he determined were abandoned by homeowners.

“Typically, the first thing is to just kind of do a drive by and see what you’re up against,” said Beal.

His job was to scout properties and look for evidence that homeowners who had defaulted on their mortgage payments had walked away from the house – and the loan.

Shaggy lawns, moss on the driveway, broken windows. All could be signs of abandonment.

“The value of the property decreases, the loan is in default, there’s not [an] asset to try to turn around and recover any dollars,” Beal said of bank efforts to secure and protect abandoned properties.

It’s a tricky business accessing property that the bank doesn’t truly own, and Beal says the industry known as “property preservation” has plenty of faults.

“The pressures are pretty intense,” said Beal.

A KING 5 Investigation shows that those pressures may be one reason behind numerous complaints filed with attorneys, housing assistance groups, and the Washington Attorney General’s Office. Typically, a homeowner complains that they have not abandoned the home, yet but have been locked out or found their personal property is missing.

Read on.

Judge Says Wells Fargo False Ad Class Claims ‘Torpedoed’

Law360, Los Angeles (March 02, 2015, 7:26 PM ET) — A California federal judge on Monday asked for additional briefing before ruling whether Wells Fargo Bank NA can force a Visa-branded gift card purchaser to arbitrate her claims of deceptive marketing, but noted that the plaintiffs’ argument against arbitration raised individual questions that render class claims “torpedoed.”

Source: Law360

Bank of America drops to 4th place for mortgage originations

Bank of America has dropped to fourth place on a widely watched ranking of mortgage market share, as the Charlotte-based bank experiences a decline in home loan dollar volume being felt across the mortgage industry.

The bank’s U.S. market share fell to 4.4 percent last year from 4.8 percent the year before, as the total amount of home loans it made sank to $54.5 billion from $89.8 billion, according to the report released earlier this year by industry publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

Bank of America lost its third-place position to Detroit-based Quicken Loans, underscoring the increasingly formidable competition banks are facing from nonbank lenders.

Bank of America pays $155,000 in settlement of MN discrimination claim

Bank of America has settled a loan discrimination case with a hearing-impaired Minnesota woman for $155,000.

Kathryn Letourneau of North Branch filed a complaint in 2012 with the Human Rights Department claiming that, due to her disability (a hearing impairment), she’d asked Bank of America to communicate with her solely through email on a $140,000 loan modification. At first, the bank complied with the request, but eventually stopped and then denied the loan modification.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights had determined probable cause in the case, finding that “Bank of America’s denial of the loan modification was attributable to Bank of America’s refusal to reasonably accommodate the deaf customer’s request to communicate by email,” the department said.

While denying that it discriminated against Letourneau, Bank of America agreed to pay $145,000; two-thirds to Letourneau and one-third to her attorney, Gilbert Law. Another $10,000 goes to the state’s Dispute Resolution fund.

The bank also has agreed to change its practices in the future, with staff training in dealing with deaf customers.

Read on.