With a ruling Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court revived a long-running whistleblower lawsuit that accused Wachovia’s investment bank of violating accounting rules and skirting internal controls to pursue short-term profits.
The Supreme Court vacated a judgment in August 2016 by the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit that had affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the case filed by two whistleblowers, including one who had worked in Charlotte.
The high court ordered the appeals court to give the case further consideration in light of a June 2016 Supreme Court ruling that interpreted an aspect of the federal whistleblower law called the U.S. False Claims Act.
“It has obviously breathed new life into our case, which is very important for everyone involved,” said Joel Androphy, a Houston-based attorney representing the plaintiffs. “This has been a very long road.”
Bank doesn’t specify what prompted four managers’ termination
Board may yet release more information, person familiar says
Wells Fargo & Co. fired the head of its consumer credit-card business and three other senior managers as the bank’s board examines how abusive sales practices spread through branches before spiraling into a national scandal last year.
Shelley Freeman, the former Los Angeles regional president who went on to run consumer-credit solutions, was terminated, along with Arizona lead regional president Pam Conboy, former community bank risk chief Claudia Russ Anderson and Matthew Raphaelson, 55, who led community bank strategy and initiatives. The bank announced the moves in a statementTuesday, saying the four won’t get bonuses for 2016 and will forfeit unvested equity awards and outstanding options.
In a show of support to activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Santa Monica City Council moved forward with plans to end the City’s banking relationship with Wells Fargo bank.
The City currently has $1 billion in annual transactions with the bank, including deposits and payments, according to spokeswoman Constance Farrell. Santa Monica’s investment portfolio includes $4.6 million in Wells Fargo bonds.
During a midnight discussion and a lengthy public comment period, Mayor Ted Winterer reminded supporters of the divestment that applause is forbidden at City Council meetings, so when five out of seven members voted to move forward with the motion a wave of jazz hands shot up into the air – a vigorous sign of approval from attendees who pushed for the motion into the early morning hours.
“I’ve been to Standing Rock twice. I was on the frontline every time. It made me very angry to see my people treated in such a manner,” said Walter Ruiz, also known as Graywolf. Ruiz was one of 25 activists who spoke to support cutting ties with Wells Fargo. He runs the Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks.
Back in November, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest providers of seller-financed homes after it failed to comply with a subpoena to turn over documents related to home foreclosures. This week, a judge upheld the Bureau’s authority to request the documents from Harbour Portfolio Advisors.
A Federal District Court in Detroit issued a 12-page decision [PDF] directing Dallas-based Harbour Portfolio Advisors to comply with the CFPB’s request for documents and other information related to its investigating into housing finance.
The case against Harbour began back in Sept. 2016 when the CFPB began looking into whether financing offered by the company and others like it — referred to as an “Agreement for Deed” — were in violation of federal leading laws.
An Agreement for Deed is a written agreement to purchase a residential property, where the seller agrees to deliver a deed to the purchaser upon full payment of the purchase price.
This so-called rent-to-own policy, the New York Times reports, became popular during the housing crisis when it was difficult for consumers to obtain mortgages and alternative lenders stepped in to fill the gaps.
Harbour Portfolio bought nearly 7,000 properties from Fannie Mae after the housing crisis, paying roughly $10,000 or less for each, the New York Times found in an investigation. The company then turned around and sold the properties “as is” at a rate four or five times higher than the purchase price.
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The board of Wells Fargo & Co plans to oppose a resolution filed by shareholder activists led by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia seeking a review of the root causes of the bank’s unauthorized accounts scandal, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
The draft dated Feb. 10 states the board’s position on the measure, to be included in its forthcoming proxy for this year’s springtime shareholder meeting, is that because the bank has its own investigation and reforms under way, the concerns raised by the proposal are being addressed.
According to the document, “our Board and our Company believe we are already providing through our current and anticipated future disclosures…the information requested by this proposal.”
An ongoing disagreement over the resolution could complicate the bank’s drive to regain shareholder confidence.
“I’ve been vindicated,” Ian Minto quietly told himself.
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) is gradually introducing a digital mortgage platform where customers can apply online and track applications by mobile phone.
The tools will allow customers to submit and sign documents online and exchange messages with bank staff and real-estate agents so loans can close more quickly and easily, consumer mortgage chief Mike Weinbach said in an interview.
“This platform will allow us to be where more of our customers are, which is online and on their phones,” Weinbach said. “It is more efficient for customers and for us.”