To what degree do corporations exceed the power of many states today?
The corporation has become more powerful than the state because the state has allowed it to happen. Over decades, by both Democrats and Republicans, unaccountability has become normalised, barely opposed by politicians or the media class. In Disaster Capitalism, I investigate the role of Western and indigenous private contractors in Afghanistan since 2001. They have left a trail of destruction and killed countless civilians. Barely anybody has been held to account, fuelling the insurgency still engulfing the country. President Trump may widen the war there but his chances of success are negligible.
Successive Afghan administrations have done little to prosecute contractor crimes and Washington has pressured Kabul to protect US contractors from legal trouble. Meanwhile, Afghan civilians are killed and maimed and anger grows.
Perhaps the most obvious, contemporary example of unhealthily powerful corporations, allowed and encouraged by Western governments, are tech firms, such as Apple, Microsoft and Google, often paying little or no tax in various jurisdictions. This is justified as allowing enterprise to thrive and employment to be created but these multinational corporations get away with murder because there’s little domestic political pressure or global accountability architecture to change it.
Wells Fargo’s annual shareholders meeting started off peacefully Tuesday, until Bruce Marks spotted his moment.
Marks stood up to interrupt the meeting about half an hour in, yelling that board members individually should explain “what they knew” about the San Francisco-based bank’s sales scandal “and when they knew it.” His outburst, which immediately followed the roll call of all 15 board members in the room, led nine minutes later to security guards dragging him out the meeting held in a Florida hotel.
For Marks, CEO of a Boston nonprofit that helps homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments, it was his latest confrontation with a large U.S. bank. As head of Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, which he founded in the 1980s and has Charlotte offices, Marks has long been known as a flamethrower toward financial firms.
Over the years, the 61-year-old has taken on banks when, for example, he’s felt they weren’t lending enough to minority communities. During the financial crisis, NACA once scattered furniture on the lawn of a mortgage investor in Connecticut to protest the loss of homes to foreclosure. NACA also once attempted “an amphibious assault” with rafts on a waterfront home of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during the crisis.
The grassroots fight to shield Mecklenburg County’s estimated 54,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation takes a new direction Monday morning, with one group of advocates planning a rally outside Bank of America at Trade and Tryon streets.
Organizers of the event say their intent is to raise awareness of the role Charlotte corporations play in support of what they call “President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.” Targets in Charlotte include Wells Fargo, Bank of America and other companies involved in the financial industry, said Héctor Vaca of the immigrant advocacy group Action NC.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ocwen Financial Corporation, (NYSE:OCN) (Ocwen or the Company), today announced the filing of two emergency motions requesting immediate court action restraining the cease and desist orders brought by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking and the Commissioner of Banks of the Massachusetts Division of Banks.
As discussed in today’s legal filings, Ocwen believes that the Illinois and Massachusetts orders will cause significant harm to the consumers in those states, including potentially those consumers with pending mortgage applications, and those seeking loan modifications. Under these circumstances, Ocwen has a responsibility to its customers, shareholders, and employees to vigorously defend the Company. The allegations at issue do not arise out of a recent assessment of Ocwen’s business activities. Instead, they come from a 2015 multi-state examination of the Company’s mortgage servicing business by the Multi-State Mortgage Committee (MMC), which covered Ocwen’s activities from January 2013 to February 2015. The MMC concluded its examination well over a year ago, in December 2015.
Over the course of almost two years, Ocwen and the Company’s Board of Directors have been in regular communication with its state mortgage regulators, including those in Illinois and Massachusetts. During those communications, Ocwen shared information regarding the significant operational and programmatic enhancements that the Company has made. For example, as it relates to borrower escrow accounts, one of the primary areas of concern in the orders at issue, independent reviews have consistently confirmed Ocwen’s escrow practices are in line with common industry standards for timeliness and accuracy.
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