Daily Archives: October 6, 2015

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac offers relief to South Carolina flood victims

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering relief to the thousands of homeowners affected by the devastating floods in South Carolina.

Over the last several days, torrential downpours have battered some residents in South Carolina with more than two feet of rain, resulting in as many as 14 deaths and damage currently estimated to be more than $1 billion.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both announced Tuesday that the companies are extending disaster relief to all affected homeowners in the state via their mortgage servicers.

Under Fannie Mae’s disaster relief guidelines, a servicer may temporarily suspend or reduce a homeowner’s mortgage payments for up to 90 days if the servicer believes a natural disaster has adversely affected the value or habitability of the property or if the natural disaster has temporarily impacted the homeowner’s ability to make payments on their mortgage.

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500 Big U.S. firms hold $2.1 trillion overseas to avoid taxes: study

Now that amount of money could pay down the US deficit in this country…

The 500 largest American companies hold more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid U.S. taxes and would collectively owe an estimated $620 billion in U.S. taxes if they repatriated the funds, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The study, by two left-leaning non-profit groups, found that nearly three-quarters of the firms on the Fortune 500 list of biggest American companies by gross revenue operate tax haven subsidiaries in countries like Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

The Center for Tax Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund used the companies’ own financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission to reach their conclusions.

Technology firm Apple (>> Apple Inc.) was holding $181.1 billion offshore, more than any other U.S. company, and would owe an estimated $59.2 billion in U.S. taxes if it tried to bring the money back to the United States from its three overseas tax havens, the study said.

The conglomerate General Electric (>> General Electric Company) has booked $119 billion offshore in 18 tax havens, software firm Microsoft (>> Microsoft Corporation) is holding $108.3 billion in five tax haven subsidiaries and drug company Pfizer (>> Pfizer Inc.) is holding $74 billion in 151 subsidiaries, the study said.

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Local labor groups launch campaign against U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo

A group of local unions and their allies have launched a new campaign against U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, demanding that they pay a $15 minimum wage to tellers and the janitors who clean their offices, and work harder to move more minorities into management.

The group, backed by SEIU Local 26, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, among others, issued the first of what they promise will be a series of reports under the title, “Inside the Vault: Exposing how US Bank and Wells Fargo Harm Minnesota Communities.”

The first report, citing GlassDoor.com, says that Wells Fargo tellers earn only an average of $11.81 per hour and that U.S. Bank tellers earn only an average of $11.60 per hour. Both wages, the group contends, are below average for tellers nationally and force a significant percentage of bank tellers to rely on some form of public assistance to make ends meet.

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Florida default servicing law firm laying off 150, shutters title company

A Florida law firm that specializes in default servicing, collections, bankruptcy, and other real estate issues is planning to lay off more than 150 employees and close down its title company unit.

According to a report from the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegra filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter with the state of Florida, indicating that it intended to lay off 154 employees.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal report also stated that the firm’s title company, Consuegra Title, will be closed and all of its 28 employees will be let go.

According to the law firm’s website, the firm is a “full-service creditors’ rights law firm representing mortgage bankers, servicers, vendors, loan companies and other credit extenders.”

Another one bites the dust: MERS wins again

California Third Appellate District Court affirms MERS’ rights to assign a mortgage

MERSCORP Holdings announced Monday that it secured another victory over a homeowner who challenged its authority to assign a mortgage.

MERS, parent of the electronic mortgage registry with the same name, had its authority upheld this time by the Court of Appeal of California for the Third Appellate District, which heard a lawsuit brought against MERS and Bank of America (BAC) by homeowners claiming wrongful foreclosure.

In Boyle vs. Bank of America, the homeowners sued Bank of America and MERS for fraud and wrongful foreclosure, claiming that the MERS deed of trust was invalid because MERS lacked any interest in the promissory note, which rendered the MERS deed of trust and assignment of the deed of trust to Bank of America ineffective.

The homeowners alleged that Bank of America’s attempts to foreclose on the property were improper because the defective assignment failed to convey to Bank of America the right to foreclose.

The homeowners also claimed that Bank of America lacked the right to foreclose because of the failure to properly transfer the note to a securitized trust that owned the loan.

But a lower court granted Bank of America and MERS a demurrer on each of the homeowner’s claims, and the appellate court agreed, finding that MERS was the original beneficiary under the deed of trust and that its assignment of that interest was not fraudulent.

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