Daily Archives: December 2, 2015

Sage Bank fined $1.2 million by DOJ for discriminatory lending

Massachusetts-based Sage Bank will pay nearly $1.2 million to settle charges brought against the bank by theDepartment of Justice, which accused the Sage Bank of “engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin in the pricing of its residential mortgage loans.”

According to the DOJ, Sage Bank allegedly charged African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher prices for home loans than the bank charged to “similarly situated” white borrowers for reasons beyond their creditworthiness.

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Highway bill requires IRS to use private debt collectors

If you’re behind on tax payments you could soon hear from a private debt collector.

Over the objections of a union representing Internal Revenue Service workers and some congressional Democrats, the final version of a highway bill released Tuesday contains a provision forcing the IRS to contract some tax collection services to private companies.

The debt-collection provision is tucked into a $305 billion, five-year highway bill. Current highway funding expires on Friday, and the House and Senate are expected to vote on it soon. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday he expects the bill to pass with “good majority support.”
Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement that efforts to use private collection agencies to collect federal taxes were scuttled twice in the past 20 years. Both attempts lost money for the government, the Washington Post reported last month.

“The third time won’t be the charm,” Reardon said. “Reviving the [private collection agencies] experiment again will deliver the same disastrous results.”

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Top RBS trader to be charged with manipulating price of debt securities

Federal prosecutors are said to be preparing to bring criminal charges against Adam Siegel, a top trader at the Royal Bank of Scotland, for allegedly manipulating the price of complex debt securities, The Post has learned.

Deirdre M. Daly, Connecticut’s top federal prosecutor, is building a case against Siegel and RBS, which used to house its bond trading unit in Stamford, for lying to purchasers — such as hedge funds — about how much the bank paid for bundles of debt, two sources familiar with the investigation told The Post.

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Quicken Loans considers quitting FHA loans

The contentious legal battle between Quicken Loans and the Department of Justice over the DOJ’s allegations that Quicken violated the False Claims Act by “knowingly” submitting hundreds of “improperly underwritten” loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration may just be enough to drive Quicken Loans out of FHA lending completely.

According to a report from Reuters, Quicken Loans, which is currently the largest FHA lender, is considering ending its participation in FHA lending entirely, citing the government’s aggressive enforcement policies as the main reason for potentially dropping FHA lending.

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Former CitiGroup Exec Gets 2 Years in Prison for Taking Bribes

A former Citigroup Inc executive and onetime child star was sentenced to up to at least two years in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty to taking at least $500,000 in bribes from contracting companies seeking business with the bank.

John Cassisi, the former director of global construction at the bank’s Citi Realty Services unit, was sentenced by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Roger Hayes for his role in a pay-to-play scheme involving New York City’s construction industry.

Cassisi, who as a child actor appeared in the 1976 British musical gangster film “Bugsy Malone,” was among five individuals and two corporations charged in the case, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

His sentence of two-to-four years in prison followed his guilty plea in October to charges of money laundering in the third degree and commercial bribe receiving in the first degree. Cassisi must also forfeit $500,000.

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J.P. Morgan Enters Online Loan Boom — Update

The largest U.S. bank is hopping on the online-lending bandwagon.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is partnering with OnDeck Capital Inc. on a new type of small-dollar loan product designed for the bank’s small-business customers, said Jennifer Piepszak, the bank’s chief executive for business banking, in an interview. For businesses, small-dollar loans generally refer to those that are less than $250,000.

The new product will be available over the Internet to some J.P. Morgan Chase clients starting in 2016, she added.

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Congress reaches highway deal without controversial use of Fannie, Freddie fees

Thanks to a landmark agreement between the Democrats and Republicans in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it’s looking increasingly likely that the fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to guarantee loans will not be used to fund new roads.

According to multiple reports, including from the Wall Street Journal, negotiators from both Congressional houses struck a deal on a five-year highway bill, with only formal votes from both houses and a signature from President Obama remaining to make the deal official.

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