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Poll of the Week
Daily Archives: August 27, 2015
Has your hometown community bank disappeared, absorbed by one of the mega banks?
Looks like a cornerstone of our communities is fast disappearing. Since 1980 there has been a steady decline in their numbers, from approximately 18,000 in the late 1980’s to a little over 6,400 today (according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, FDIC). The rate of consolidation has been a gradual one, averaging about 3.5% a year. Credit union declines have pretty much kept pace with that of banks.
While smaller banks still make up the vast majority of our financial institutions, with 98% having fewer than $10 billion of assets and 89% with fewer than $1 billion of assets, it is the smaller ones that are hardest hit. From 1985 to 2013, institutions with less than $100 million declined by 85%.
There are a number of factors and many legal changes in the industry that have contributed to this, including a weaker economy, more stringent loan requirements, and the mortgage industry fiasco. The “mortgage meltdown” resulted in tightened credit and higher requirements from the FDIC for approving new banks so fewer bank charters are obtained and fewer small banks can open their doors. Last year, a Federal Reserve study claimed that at least three quarters of the decline in new charters is the result of the weak economy and low interest rates which results in fewer investors.
Still, regulations and the costs of keeping up with compliance have been huge factors. Jill Castilla, President and CEO of Citizen’s Bank of Edmond (Ok), says, “There is a lot of regulatory fatigue. I think there’s maybe a greater temptation to merge because of compliance costs and the economies of scale you’re able to gain when you combine.”
But what’s causing regulatory fatigue? Why is the cost of compliance escalating?
Jennifer Dupuis fell behind on her property taxes. The county tried to foreclose on her home, and she came up with the cash.
But county officials are telling her to keep her money, they want the house.
“I just didn’t understand it, they got their money back,” Dupuis said. “I was four years behind, it was my fault. They penalized me got me with fines and I paid all that.”
Even though Dupuis missed the deadline to catch up on her past due taxes, a Tuscola County judge granted a 10-day extension, allowing her to pay the nearly $10,000 she was behind.
“Felt relieved, I felt all the pressure was off. Then I get this letter,” Dupuis said.
The letter was from the Tuscola County Treasurer’s Office. It notified her that the office was appealing the judge’s decision and now wants to continue the foreclosure process, even though Dupuis has paid up.
“I raised my kids here. I want to stay here. I worked hard to get it,” Dupuis said.
But why would a county pay an attorney to give back money, take possession of a home and then sell it to get back the money it already has?
According to the Treasurer’s Office:
“What the county doesn’t want is to set a court precedent of allowing those in foreclosure for unpaid
And Wells Fargo’s lawyers are the law firm where Eric Holder works for…
A federal judge in Florida has rejected a bid by Wells Fargo to overturn class certification of a lawsuit accusing it of collecting millions of dollars in excessive overdraft fees from struggling checking account customers.
The decision clears the way for one of the last class actions pending in Florida federal court involving overdraft practices that generated billions of dollars in fees for banks nationwide. Wells Fargo was represented by lawyers at Covington & Burling and Hunton & Williams.
I’m broken up in tears for the banksters. And it’s about time..
Regional banks lure half of new executives from biggest rivals
Ex-Goldman manager: `We could give our daughter a better life’
Wall Street banks have been bleeding talent to hedge funds, buyout firms and technology companies. Now they’re facing another predator: smaller lenders in states like Ohio and Rhode Island.
U.S. regional banks are luring executives from global rivals with an ease and frequency unseen before. About half the recruits for senior-level openings at mid-size banks are people whose resumes lead with names including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., estimates Robert Voth, managing director in the financial services group at Russell Reynolds Associates, a recruiting firm. The share was about a fifth before 2008’s credit crisis, he said.
While regional banks aren’t the biggest raiders — they can’t match the potential riches offered by investment and tech companies — they are highly motivated. They must adapt quickly to new regulations, technology and competition from online startups, and in some cases staff new units, so they’re seeking people from firms a step ahead, according to recruiters.
Sounds similar to the US Federal Reserve injecting billions into the financial system during the 2008 financial crisis…
China’s central bank brought out an array of tools to target stubbornly high financing costs this week, reducing interest rates, offering cheap loans and adding cash to the financial system through open-market operations.
Money-market rates are finally buckling under the pressure, with the overnight rate breaking a record 39-day run of increases and interest-rate swaps slipping to the lowest since July. Supply of cash has lagged demand especially since a shock Aug. 11 yuan devaluation that saw the People’s Bank of China buying the currency on subsequent days to lend it stability.
The monetary authority auctioned 150 billion yuan ($23.4 billion) of seven-day reverse-repurchase agreements Thursday, according to a statement on its website. It added the same amount on Tuesday, leaving a net addition of 210 billion yuan for the past two weeks, the most for open-market operations since February.
“Such big amounts before the effective date of a reserve-requirement-ratio cut shows the central bank hopes to stabilize funding costs amid outflow pressure,” said Li Qilin, a fixed-income analyst at Minsheng Securities Co., referring to a reduction in bank reserve ratios that will be implemented Sept. 6. “By lowering the reverse-repo rate, the central bank is trying to cut borrowing costs to support the economy.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released its latest report on the various complaints the agency has received about banks, lenders, debt collectors, and other financial services. Amid a sudden increase in the number of complaints involving credit report errors, the country’s largest credit bureaus now dominate the top of the CFPB’s list of most complained-about companies.
According to the CFPB report [PDF], it received nearly 6,700 complaints about credit reporting in July 2015 alone, that’s a 56% increase over the previous month and more than double the monthly average of around 3,200 for this category.
And since 97% of credit reporting complaints involved the three largest credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — it’s no surprise that these companies occupied three of the top five spots on the complained-about list.
Equifax topped the list, with 991 complaints in July alone, followed by 926 complaints about Experian. TransUnion managed to avoid the bronze medal in this field by coming in fourth with 732 complaints.
Beating out TransUnion was Bank of America, with 858 complaints, while Wells Fargo rounded out the top five with 720 gripes filed against it.
Most complaints (77%) filed against the credit bureau involve people trying to dispute incorrect information on their reports.
Even the appraisers who are employees of the bank got screwed in being paid overtime…
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – Bank of America will pay $36 million to settle a class action involving real estate appraisers who claim they were misclassified as exempt from overtime, class attorneys said Wednesday.
The class action, filed in Federal Court in April 2013, involves 365 current and former employees working as residential real estate appraisers for Bank of America subsidiary Landsafe Appraisal Services.
According to the plaintiffs, the bank erroneously applied administrative and professional exemptions to the residential staff appraisers – a job that requires no special academic degree, just a state license. The misclassifications kept them from being paid overtime, the appraisers say.
One of the named plaintiffs who worked for Landsafe until 2012 said she worked from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. and rarely had time for lunch or breaks because of “artificially short deadlines set by Bank of America,” according to a statement by Bryan Schwartz Law, the firm representing the class.
The firm’s founder Bryan Schwartz said he hopes the proposed settlement ill “change the playing field” for other misclassified employees.
“We have seen over and over again across the economy that employees are misclassified, depriving them of overtime compensation, when under state and federal law they are due the wages,” Schwartz said. “These individuals worked hard, generated thousands of reports a month for the employer to sell mortgages, and were not compensated for their efforts as the law requires.”