Daily Archives: September 27, 2015

Ocwen Violated TCPA With 218 Calls, Fla. Jury Finds

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Law360, Los Angeles (September 23, 2015, 11:01 PM ET) — A Florida federal jury found on Wednesday that Ocwen Loan Servicing Inc. violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making 218 unauthorized calls to a woman’s cellphone in an alleged attempt to collect a mortgage loan debt that had been discharged in bankruptcy.
The jury unanimously decided on the third day of trial that Ocwen willfully or knowingly violated the TCPA by making the calls with an automatic dialing system to Rolena Drew. Ocwen allegedly called Drew’s cellphone multiple times per day and on back-to-back days.

The plaintiff claimed the roughly $92,500 delinquent debt that Ocwen was trying to collect had previously been discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Ocwen claimed it hadn’t known the debt had been discharged and would have handled the matter differently had it known.

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Promontory Financial tried buying its way out of trouble

Turns out Wall Street’s regulators don’t like the taste of their own medicine.

Promontory Financial Group, a prominent DC-based bank advisor led by former Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig, tried to buy its way out of admitting wrongdoing last month for helping a bank whitewash its business with terrorism sponsor Iran, The Post has learned.

PFG’s advisory board includes Arthur Levitt Jr.and Mary Schapiro, both ex-chairs of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Alan Blinder, former vice chairman of the Fed.

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To Gabriel Zucman, protégé of rock star French economist Thomas Piketty, the United States is starting to look a lot like Europe in the late 1800s.

“There’s been this great reversal where, in the 19th century, the U.S. was much more equal than Europe, and thought of Europe as being way too unequal,” Zucman, a native Parisian, told The Huffington Post in an interview on Tuesday. “Now, the U.S. is unequal and many people think Europe is too equal.”

The gaping chasm between the super-rich and the rest keeps widening. Now, the 28-year-old assistant professor at University of California, Berkeley hopes his newly-published 116-page book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations, will jolt lawmakers into tackling a key agent of income inequality: tax havens.

Thanks to a confluence of regulatory and geographic advantages, Switzerland positioned itself as the first major tax haven just after World War I, providing shelter to the wealth of European nobles as France and other allies levied heavy taxes to pay off public debt and compensate war victims. Until then, European governments had hardly taxed income generated from stocks and property.

By the outbreak of World War II, the tiny alpine nation made itself even more attractive by passing bank secrecy laws. The legislation purportedly protected the wealth of persecuted Jews. Instead, according to Zucman, Jews made up just 1.5 percent of those with assets in Swiss banks.

That set the standard for Bermuda, the Virgin Islands and other secretive wealth refuges.

“The substantial revenue that’s lost has to be made up for by taxing middle class people,” Zucman said.

But the problem isn’t just about rich individuals stashing their assets in offshore accounts.

Despite increased financial scrutiny following the Great Recession, corporate behemoths such as Apple, Starbucks and Microsoft continue to funnel their profits through subsidiaries in countries with favorable tax policies, outrageously slashing their U.S. tax bills. The result,Zucman argues, is that 8 percent of the world’s financial wealth is held offshore, resulting in a tax revenue loss of at least $200 billion.

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Global regulators reach agreement on bail-in bonds plan for top banks

Global regulators have reached a draft agreement on a rule on stopping banks from being “too big to fail” by requiring them to hold enough equity capital and bonds to avoid taxpayers being called on in a crisis.

The proposed standard is known as total loss absorbency capacity or TLAC and Bank of England governor Mark Carney — who chairs the global regulatory Financial Services Board (FSB) — has described it as the last major reform after the 2007-09 financial crisis forced governments to shore up lenders.

The rule will apply to nearly all the 30 big banks that the FSB has deemed to be “globally systemic” such as Goldman Sachs (>> Goldman Sachs Group Inc), Deutsche Bank (>> Deutsche Bank AG) and HSBC (>> HSBC Holdings plc).

“At today’s meeting FSB members discussed the TLAC impact assessments, and agreed the draft final principles and the updated term sheet,” the FSB said in a statement late on Friday.

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