Monthly Archives: March 2018

Chicago can pursue part of Wells Fargo predatory lending case

(Reuters) – A federal judge significantly narrowed but refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing Wells Fargo & Co, the third-largest U.S. bank, of predatory mortgage lending targeting black and Hispanic borrowers in the Chicago area.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman ruled on Monday that Illinois’ Cook County, which includes Chicago, may pursue federal Fair Housing Act claims against Wells Fargo, to the extent the bank’s alleged “equity stripping” practices boosted the cost of administering and processing a higher number of foreclosures.

But Feinerman dismissed claims alleging harm from lost property taxes, the need to combat crime and blight, racial segregation and other factors, calling them “ripples” that “flow far beyond” Wells Fargo’s alleged misconduct.

Read on.

JPMorgan’s $8 Billion Jury Loss to Widow Faces Massive Reduction

  • Plaintiffs concede jury awarded too much money in estate fight
  • Widow, children of executive claimed mismanagement of estate

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will probably face a judgment of no more than $90 million in a lawsuit claiming mismanagement of an estate that initially brought a jury verdict of $8 billion in punitive damages.

A Dallas jury in September awarded excessive punitives and duplicate actual damages, the widow and children of Max Hopper, a former American Airlinesexecutive, said in court filings.

Lawyers for Stephen Hopper and Laura Wassmer asked a Dallas probate court to limit punitive damages to them and their father’s estate to about $70 million, down from a total of $6 billion awarded by the jury. Hopper and Wassmer also asked for $3.9 million for losses and attorneys’ fees.

Read on.


Yeah right, Jamie…


JPMORGAN CHASE WILL not benefit from a recent bipartisan bank deregulation bill that passed in the Senate, the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon claimed to The Intercept last week after an event in Washington.

“The banking bill is only really affecting smaller banks, so it doesn’t really have anything to do with us,” Dimon said after an event organized by Axios at Howard University titled, “Smarter Faster Revolution.”

“I think if they get a little bit of relief, it’s probably good for them and their ability to finance America,” Dimon added.

Dimon’s assertion calls into question why JPMorgan has spent resources to lobby for the bill and could shape the way that federal rule-makers interpret the statute and translate it into regulations.

JPMorgan Chase has been active on the bill, S.2155, which the Senate cleared on March 14 on the strength of 50 Republicans, 16 Democrats, and one Democratic-leaning independent. A look at lobbying disclosure formsshows that JPMorgan spent $810,000 on lobbying for financial issues in the fourth quarter of 2017, including on S.2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The bank was one of 119 separate organizations that have lobbied on the bill.

Read on.

The Former Khmer Rouge Slave Who Blew the Whistle on Wells Fargo

After Duke Tran escaped from slavery, but before he became a millionaire, he was a Wells Fargo employee.

He worked at the bank’s debt-collections center near Portland, Ore., talking on the phone to customers who owed Wells Fargo money. It wasn’t glamorous, but the job enabled him to afford a two-story suburban house with mustard-colored aluminum siding. After more than three decades in the United States, Mr. Tran felt that he was the living embodiment of the American dream.

And then it all started to crumble.

In 2014, according to Mr. Tran, his boss ordered him to lie to customers who were facing foreclosure. When Mr. Tran refused, he said, he was fired. He worried that he wouldn’t be able to make his monthly mortgage payments and that he was about to become homeless.

Joining a cadre of former employees claiming they were mistreated for speaking out about problems at the bank, Mr. Tran sued. He argued in court filings that he had been fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on misconduct at the giant San Francisco-based bank. Mr. Tran said he didn’t want his job back — he wanted Wells Fargo to admit that it had been wrong to fire him and wrong to mislead customers who were facing foreclosure.

It was a long shot. Banks generally are happy to reach private settlements, but loath to publicly admit wrongdoing, which can open them up to litigation. But Mr. Tran, who fled Vietnam as a teenager and then was enslaved by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, wasn’t daunted by long odds.

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WELLS FARGO SHAREHOLDER ALERT: ClaimsFiler Reminds Investors with Losses in Excess of $100kof L ead Plaintiff Deadline in Class Action Lawsuit Against Wells Fargo

NEW ORLEANS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ClaimsFiler, a FREE shareholder information service, reminds investors that they have untilApril 16, 2018 to file lead plaintiff applications in a securities class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), if they purchased the Company’s securities between January 13, 2017, and July 27, 2017, inclusive (the “Class Period”). This action is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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NY AG fines Bank of America $42 million for fraudulent ‘masking’ scheme


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said it has reached a record $42 million settlement with Bank of America Merrill Lynch BAC, -4.52% over a fraudulent “masking” scheme in the bank’s electronic trading division. The bank told customers it was executing their orders in-house, but instead was actually routing them to ELPs (electronic liquidity providers), like Citadel, Two Sigma, Knight and others. The bank “masked” the deals by replacing the identity of the ELP with a code that indicated it was done by BofAML. “Bank of America Merrill Lynch went to astonishing lengths to defraud its own institutional clients about who was seeing and filling their orders, who was trading in its dark pool, and the capabilities of its electronic trading services,” Schneiderman said in a statement. The AG’s office found the bank had engaged in the practice starting in 2008, and that more than 16 million client orders were affected.


And here are emails and other records regarding office renovation expenses for HUD Secretary Ben Carson from FOIA lawsuit by American Oversight. Click here.

Nuns’ pressure leads Wells Fargo to publish causes of ‘systemic lapses in governance’

A group of nuns and religiously-affiliated investors said Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to publish a review that shows the root causes of the systemic lapses in governance and risk management that have led to ongoing controversies, litigation and fines. As a result of the company’s commitment, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility will withdraw a resolution filed for the 2018 proxy calling for the review.

Sister Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia led the engagement with Wells Fargo, along with 22 other co-filers who are members of the ICCR, a shareholder coalition that has been engaging the top seven U.S. banks on controversies around risk, ethics and culture for several decades. ICCR members were joined in the filing by the Offices of the Treasurer of the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Read on.

Wells Fargo couldn’t get through last month and this month with new scandals

Here is the lawsuit. Click here.

 Deal Breaker

Alas: Wells could not get through February without seeing that streak end.

Matthew Valles, a former fraud investigator for Wells Fargo in Portland, Ore., said the bank fired him in January in retaliation for his internal complaints about “hundreds” of mishandled fraud investigations….

Wells Fargo customers, however, have complained that the bank was too quick to freeze or close accounts after signs of fraud — even if they themselves reported the suspicious activity. The consumer bureau’s complaints database contains dozens of reports from aggrieved customers who said their accounts had been shut down after they were victimized. Some customers who unknowingly deposited fake checks, for instance, said their accounts had then been terminated, often with little warning or explanation.


Nor shall March mark the beginning of a new streak:

Wells Fargo on Thursday disclosed the board’s investigation in a securities filing, saying it was “in response to inquiries from federal government agencies.”

The bank said the board’s review is assessing “whether there have been inappropriate referrals or recommendations, including with respect to rollovers for 401(k) plan participants, certain alternative investments, or referrals of brokerage customers to the company’s investment and fiduciary services business.”