Daily Archives: September 7, 2016

New Investigation Names Wall Street Banks Behind $3.8 Billion Dakota Access Pipeline

Over 1,000 people representing more than 100 tribes are gathered along the Cannonball River by the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to resist the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. It’s been described as the largest unification of Native American tribes in decades. On September 3, the Dakota Access pipeline company attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline on a sacred tribal burial site. Saturday was also the first day of a two-week call for actions against the financial institutions that are bankrolling the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline project. A new investigation has revealed that more than two dozen major banks and financial institutions are helping finance the Dakota Access pipeline. The investigation was published by the research outlet LittleSis. It details how Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions have, combined, extended a $3.75 billion credit line to Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Dakota Access. For more, we speak with the author of this investigation, Hugh MacMillan, a senior researcher with Food & Water Watch.

Read on.

Foreclosure Crisis Still Plagues Jamaica as Families Struggle to Keep Homes

QUEENS — Charmayne Roberts, a mother of three, bought a small two-bedroom home in South Jamaica in 2006. Initially, her $1,200 mortgage seemed affordable, even though the house required a lot of costly repairs, she said.

But when two years later her grandmother passed away, Roberts, 55, spent all her savings — about $5,000 — on the funeral.

“I couldn’t recover,” she said.

Shortly after that, Roberts, then a clerk at a law firm, had her hours cut during the 2008 financial meltdown. Her husband’s salary was modest as well, she said.

She started lagging behind on her mortgage payments. “I would pay them a little something, but not the full amount,” she said.

Read on.

40,000 Students In Limbo, 8,000 Employees Fired As ITT Suddenly Shuts Down

As predicted….

The full statement released by ITT is below:

ITT Educational Services, Inc. to Cease Operations at all ITT Technical Institutes Following Federal Actions

“It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services, Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes permanently after approximately 50 years of continuous service. With what we believe is a complete disregard by the U.S. Department of Education for due process to the company, hundreds of thousands of current students and alumni and more than 8,000 employees will be negatively affected.

The actions of and sanctions from the U.S. Department of Education have forced us to cease operations of the ITT Technical Institutes, and we will not be offering our September quarter. We reached this decision only after having exhausted the exploration of alternatives, including transfer of the schools to a non-profit or public institution.

Effective today, the company has eliminated the positions of the overwhelming majority of our more than 8,000 employees. Our focus and priority with our remaining staff is on helping the tens of thousands of unexpectedly displaced students with their records and future educational options.

This action of our federal regulator to increase our surety requirement to 40 percent of our Title IV federal funding and place our schools under “Heightened Cash Monitoring Level 2,” forced us to conclude that we can no longer continue to operate our ITT Tech campuses and provide our students with the quality education they expect and deserve.

For more than half a century, ITT Tech has helped hundreds of thousands of non-traditional and underserved students improve their lives through career-focused technical education. Thousands of employers have relied on our institutions for skilled workers in high-demand fields. We have been a mainstay in more than 130 communities that we served nationwide, as well as an engine of economic activity and a positive innovator in the higher-education sector.

This federal action will also disrupt the lives of thousands of hardworking ITT Tech employees and their families. More than 8,000 ITT Tech employees are now without a job – employees who exhibited the utmost dedication in serving our students.

We have always carefully managed expenses to align with our enrollments. We had no intention prior to the receipt of the most recent sanctions of closing down despite the challenging regulatory environment that now threatens all proprietary higher education. We have also always worked tirelessly to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and to uphold our ethic of continuous improvement. When we have received inquiries from regulators, we have always been responsive and cooperative. Despite our ongoing service to this nation’s employers, local communities and underserved students, these federal actions will result in the closure of the ITT Technical Institutes without any opportunity to pursue our right to due process.

These unwarranted actions, taken without proving a single allegation, are a “lawless execution,” as noted by a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal. We were not provided with a hearing or an appeal. Alternatives that we strongly believe would have better served students, employees, and taxpayers were rejected. The damage done to our students and employees, as well as to our shareholders and the American taxpayers, is irrevocable.

We believe the government’s action was inappropriate and unconstitutional, however, with the ITT Technical Institutes ceasing operations, it will now likely rest on other parties to understand these reprehensible actions and to take action to attempt to prevent this from happening again.”

UBS’ Liability in $2B Mortgage Suit Pruned

MANHATTAN (CN) — This past spring, UBS faced a trial over $2 billion in investor damages related to the 2008 housing crisis, but an order issued Tuesday clears a path for a smaller penalty.
Three trusts represented by U.S. Bancorp have spent for four years trying to hold the Zurich-based UBS liable for breaching warranties on over 12,000 of approximately 17,000 mortgage loans originally pooled.
On the road to trial, the trusts dropped their estimates to more than 9,800 loans that they claimed to be defective, and the case finally went to a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel from April 18 to May 13 this year.
Four UBS managers and traders took the stand along with one of the trust’s executives and experts from both parties. The banks and trustees also submitted two terabytes of data — including thousands of loan files — for the court’s review.
After digesting the enormous record over the summer, Castel issued a 239-page ruling clearing the bank of turning a blind eye toward the loans’ deficiencies.
“The trusts have not established that UBS was willfully blind to widespread breaches of warranties across the loans in the three trusts,” he wrote.
UBS manager Jonathan Lantz testified that the bank had “ceased its surveillance operations around the same time that it wound down its business of structuring and selling [residential mortgage-backed securities] pools,” according to the ruling.
But Castel also found that UBS would have to repurchase or pay damages for 13 out of 20 loans that he examined, described in the ruling as “exemplar loans.”
Thousands of other loans still need to be reviewed.

Read on.

Fannie Mae sells $1 billion in NPLs to Goldman Sachs subsidiary, private equity

In what is becoming a frequent occurrence, Fannie Mae announced Tuesday that it sold a large portfolio of non-performing loans to a collection of private equity funds and a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs.

The government-sponsored enterprise said Tuesday that it sold off $1.06 billion in non-performing loans from its portfolio, with some now-familiar names making up the buyer pool.

Among the buyers is MTGLQ Investors, a “significant subsidiary” of Goldman Sachs.  According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman Sachs owns, directly or indirectly, at least 99% of the voting securities of MTGLQ Investors, L.P.

This latest purchase is MTGLQ Investors’ fifth purchase of NPLs from one of the GSEs this year alone.

Over the course of this year, in various sales, MTGLQ Investors bought more than $2.3 billion in unpaid principal balance from the GSEs.

Read on.