Daily Archives: September 15, 2015

Wells Fargo sets $125 billion home-lending goal to Hispanics

Wells Fargo said Tuesday that it wants to extend $125 billion in home mortgages to America’s Hispanic community over the next 10 years.

The San Francisco-based bank also said it plans to boost the number of Hispanics working with customers in its mortgage unit.

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The seventh anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers

This day marks 7 years. September 15th, 2008:

Lehman Brothers filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.

Sue Your Bank, Keep Your Home, Repeat

Inside a deeply suspect mortgage-relief operation in L.A.

Four years ago, Robert and Joan Potter were facing a crisis. The monthly payments on their two-bedroom home in the coastal suburb of Laguna Niguel, Calif., had ballooned from $2,000 to $5,000 in the decade since they bought it for about $360,000. Now the retirees were rapidly falling behind.

“It was my parents’ dream home,” said their son, Derrick, 43. Derrick, who works as a mortgage consultant, said Robert and Joan got suckered into the kind of inflationary deal known as a negative amortization loan, since outlawed by state legislators. “They had some sleazy mortgage broker who said my mom, who hasn’t worked in 25 years, made $10,000 a month.”

Still, there was hope. The Potters heard about a firm called Brookstone Law, which was pioneering a novel strategy for challenging allegedly predatory banks. The best part: As long as Brookstone was representing Robert and Joan, the bank would hold off on collecting mortgage payments or foreclosing.

In 2011, Robert and Joan paid Brookstone $6,000 to become the lead plaintiffs in a “mass joinder” lawsuit against their lender, JPMorgan Chase Bank. Similar to class actions, mass joinders allow large numbers of people to collectively sue one defendant, except that in a mass joinder the plaintiffs do not have identical claims. Settlements, if there are any, get sorted out individually, depending on each plaintiff’s circumstances.

Brookstone’s case against Chase alleged mortgage-related misconduct such as wrongful foreclosure and breach of contract. It demanded that the bank pay for lost home equity, lowered credit scores, and further damages. It claimed that when the Potters refinanced in 2006, the bank manipulated them into taking a loan they couldn’t afford and hid its true interest rate. The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 15, 2011. Eventually, Brookstone signed up more than 250 clients to join it.

Casting itself as defending the little guys caught up in the subprime crisis, Brookstone, founded by a 41-year old attorney named Vito Torchia Jr., has represented at least 4,000 clients in a dozen mass joinder lawsuits against big banks, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Court documents indicate Brookstone’s earnings during 2011 and 2012 could be in the tens of millions of dollars. Yet the firm has yet to win a single one of these cases on the merits.

Read on.

FHFA: Freddie Mac will be first to use Common Securitzation Platform

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said Tuesday that the complicated process of developing a single security to be issued by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is progressing well and, for the first time, provided a detailed look at the project’s timeline for implementation.

In an updated provided Tuesday, the FHFA said that it currently anticipates announcing an implementation date for the single security sometime in 2016.

The exact implementation date could still be years awaydue to the complex nature of the development of the single security, but the projected announcement of an implementation date is progress.

“Developing the CSP is a large scale, multi-faceted project,” said FHFA Director Mel Watt.

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Hayes Seeks to Appeal 14-Year Prison Term, Libor Conviction

Tom Hayes, the former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader sentenced to 14 years in a U.K. prison over his role in rigging Libor, began a counter-offensive seeking to appeal both his conviction and sentence.

Hayes asked a London court Sept. 1 for permission to appeal, a court clerk said Monday. A judge will review the case and decide whether he can pursue the challenge, in a ruling that may not come for months.

Hayes was convicted in August for conspiring to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, after a London jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all eight charges. He is the first person to be imprisoned for rigging the interest-rate benchmark used to value more than $350 trillion of loans and securities. Eleven others await trials beginning next month.

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U.S. in Plea Talks With Man Allegedly Tied to JPMorgan Hack

A man accused of running a bitcoin exchange that laundered money for hackers and who has been linked to a cyber-attack on JPMorgan Chase & Co. in an FBI memo, is in plea discussions with U.S. prosecutors who last week sought a 30-day extension on his case.

Anthony Murgio’s lawyer and prosecutors “have had discussion regarding a possible disposition of the case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eun Young Choi told U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas in a Sept. 9 request to adjourn the case until Oct. 9.

Murgio, 31, was charged in July with a second man, Yuri Lebedev, 37, accused of operating an illegal bitcoin exchange named Coin.mx. Murgio has been linked to a group in Russia and Israel being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for theft of customer data from JPMorgan, according to a Sept. 9 FBI memo.

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Fiorina’s HP Earned Millions From Sales in Iran

On the campaign trail this year, Carly Fiorina has been a staunch advocate of keeping crippling sanctions on Iran, but under her leadership, Hewlett-Packard sold hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of products to Iran through a foreign subsidiary, despite strict U.S. export sanctions.

Fiorina, who served as CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005, often criticizes President Obama’s deal with Iran on the basis that he is agreeing to sanctions relief for Iran too quickly and in exchange for paltry concessions on the part of Tehran. In April, she said Iran sanctions were “unraveling fast,” something she called a “dangerous development.”

Fiorina often cites her time as a corporate executive as a credential for running for president and said in July she would back away from the Iran deal if elected and renegotiate. She has also warned that European countries, as well as Russia and China, are rushing “to open the Iranian economy.” She has also accused Iran of cheating on sanctions.

What Fiorina never mentions on the stump is that while she was in charge, Hewlett-Packard used a European subsidiary and a Middle East distributor to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of printers and other computer equipment to Iran.

HP’s unusual omnipresence inside Iran was first reported in 2008 by the Boston Globe, which discovered that in 1997 the company struck up a partnership with a new Indian company in Dubai called Redington Gulf. The partnership was so successful distributing in Iran that HP printers were No. 1 there,, with 41 percent of the market share by 2007.

Read on.