(Bloomberg) — Citibank agreed to change how it uses a customer-screening tool in order to reduce barriers to low-income people getting bank accounts amid a probe by New York’s attorney general.
The Citigroup Inc. unit was among the banks being investigated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over their use of ChexSystems, a consumer reporting agency that screens people seeking to open checking or savings accounts.
Schneiderman announced the Citibank agreement Wednesday.
Earlier, Capital One Financial Corp. agreed to limit its use of the tool, which helps banks analyze customers’ financial histories for evidence of credit or fraud risk. The system has disproportionately affected lower-income customers by flagging them for relatively minor financial mistakes, Schneiderman said.
“No one should be denied access to a bank account because of a bounced check from years ago or because they were a victim of identity theft,” Schneiderman said. “I commend Citibank, following Capital One, for stepping up and working with us to help eliminate an unnecessary barrier to opening a checking or savings account.”
When barred from using banks, lower-income people are often forced to resort to check-cashing centers and other costly alternative financial services, Schneiderman said.
OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Two classes of homeowners failed to prove that Citibank and JP Morgan Chase banks conspired with property inspection companies to charge excessive fees, a federal judge ruled.
In dismissing both class actions on Jan. 6, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote that the homeowners could not show “the existence of an association-in-fact enterprise united for the as-alleged common purpose.”
Lead plaintiff Gloria Stitt, who sued Citibank, and Diana Ellis, who sued Morgan Chase, both in July 2012, claimed the banks colluded with subsidiaries, affiliates and vendors to profit from inspections that they routinely assessed on delinquent homes. Stitt claimed that Citibank ordered unnecessary monthly property inspections through a vendor called Safeguard. One class member’s home allegedly was inspected more than 30 times in three years.
But Judge Gonzalez Rogers found that the classes failed to show a RICO conspiracy between the banks and vendors.
“Plaintiffs’ allegation that Safeguard ‘conducted the inspections according to policies and procedures developed collaboratively with Citi,’ does not render plausible plaintiffs’ claim that the members of the Citi Enterprise associated for the alleged, and fraudulent, common purpose,” the judge wrote.
Law360, San Francisco (September 30, 2014, 9:50 PM ET) — A California federal judge on Tuesday cast doubt on a pair of proposed class actions accusing Citibank NA and JPMorgan Chase & Co. of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by charging property-inspection fees to mortgage borrowers in default, saying she didn’t think their inspection fee policies amounted to racketeering.
Citibank and Chase urged U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to toss the complaints, arguing that both companies had been operating within their roles as loan servicers when they ordered a third-party company…
Citibank Settles Conn. AG Suit Over Online Security Breach
Law360, New York (August 30, 2013, 7:22 PM ET) — Citibank NA has agreed to pay $55,000 and undergo an independent security audit to resolve the Connecticut attorney general’s allegations that the company failed to adequately protect the personal data of online banking customers whose information was compromised in a 2011 breach, the regulator said Thursday.
JPMorgan, Citibank sued Over $301 Million Mortgage Loans
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Washington Mutual Inc. and Citigroup Inc. (C) were sued by Integer Program LLC over $301 million in losses from mortgage loans.
Integer claimed that the banks breached a 2007 mortgage loan purchase agreement, according to the suit filed April 26 in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Washington Mutual securitized more than 4,600 residential mortgage loans that were eventually sold to Integer, according to the complaint. The alleged breaches occurred on more than 1,400 loans.
“Over 60 mortgage loans were delinquent as of the applicable cut-off date and/or the date of the closing of the offering of the certificates to the public,” Integer said in a court filing. “These breaches have not been remedied by the responsible parties.”
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge gave preliminary approval to a settlement for home owners who said that Citibank reduced their credit by using an automated valuation program.
Citibank faced a slew of claims over its automated valuation models in 2009. In one complaint, lead plaintiff David Levin claimed that his home value did not actually decrease enough for Citibank to reduce his credit limit. He alleged violations of the Truth-in-Lending Act and breach of contract.
Levin is one of six plaintiffs named as a class representative in the Tuesday order granting preliminary settlement approval.
“I’m really devastated here, I don’t understand how this can happen,” explained Golden Valley Minnesota homeowner Rose McGee.
She’s referring to her California Mission style home on a quiet corner of Duluth Street in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley. Citibank, Rose’s lender foreclosed after months of telling her they were working with her on a plan to save the home. The process is called “dual tracking”. That’s when the lender says they’re working with the borrower to modify their loan, but is pursuing foreclosure.
Rose McGee’s troubles didn’t start with a foreclosure on her house. Her husband passed away in 2000, leaving Rose with only one income to pay all the bills. Then came major repairs due to a series of storms that hit the metro area a few years after that. Then, she lost her job. She was able to negotiate with Citibank to refinance her home and was able to keep up with the payments until 2011 when she lost her job, again.
“I’m thinking, ‘mortgage, how am I going to keep up with my mortgage.’ It’s awful when mortgage is the first thing that comes into your mind,” said Rose.
She immediately called Citibank and explained the situation. A representative said initially there was nothing they could do for her. After some pressing, another said that there were options of paying a percentage of what she owed. Rose agreed and worked with Citibank representatives. She called and called and called. Each time getting a different person on the line. Each time the person at Citibank said they were reviewing her case and they would get back to her. One representative said she should know something soon and call back the following week. Rose heard nothing. Finally, on June 4th, she reached the person who had the answer-just not the one she was expecting.
“They said, ‘Well ma’am are you aware that your house has been sold?’” recalls Rose.
She was stunned.
On a side note: In Minnesota, lenders may foreclose on deeds of trusts or mortgages in default using either a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process.
Citigroup Inc. (C) will allow customers to challenge suspension of home-equity loans and provide $120 apiece to some ex-borrowers whose credit lines of credit were cut, in a settlement of a class-action suit over its practices.
The accord, disclosed today in documents filed in federal court in San Francisco, resolves a group lawsuit in which the bank was accused of improperly suspending or reducing home equity lines of credit for thousands of customers.
Irzen Octa, an Indonesian businessman, died in a Citibank office under mysterious circumstances last March, while debt collectors were questioning him about money he owed on a Citibank credit card. Now, two of the three collectors convicted in Octa’s death are reportedly on the run from the law.
Arif Lukman and Henry Waslinton, who were each sentenced to five years in prison last month for their role in the March 2011 interrogation, have failed to answer a court summons for detention, according to the Jakarta Globe. On Wednesday, both men were declared fugitives.
Octa, who owed Citibank more than $11,000 at the time of his death, met with third-party collectors on March 28, 2011, in an attempt to negotiate a settlement. He was found dead in the Citibank office that afternoon. Following Octa’s death, there were conflicting reports as to the cause. Medical professionals have disagreed on whether hypertension played a role in Octa’s death, and whether he was physically assaulted before he died. Post-mortem reports from various doctors have given his cause of death as asphyxiation, brain hemorrhage and “blunt violence,” according to The Washington Post.
Investigation: Mortgage meltdown – Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com.
Imagine losing your entire life savings in one afternoon. It happened to a Garland couple and it is happening all over North Texas. The housing market impacts everyone whether you own or rent. When homes go into foreclosure, it takes down a neighborhood’s value and the impact trickles down to everyone.
Robert and Sherry Durham are typical of so many North Texas homeowners. They have lived in their Garland home for 19 years, faithfully paying their monthly mortgage payment. The Durhams said they were just a few years away from having their home completely paid off when Robert lost his job. They contacted CitiMortgage, the company that serviced their loan, about getting some hardship assistance. Robert said after sending all the paperwork, they thought it was all good.
“I was confident that CitiMortgage was working with me, to help save our home because of our payment history,” said Robert Durham.
When a foreclosure letter arrived in March, the Durhams didn’t panic or try to sell. They were talking with CitiMortgage representatives and thought they were getting a loan modification. That is what a CitiMortgage supervisor told them by phone just a week before the foreclosure sale. The Durhams recorded the call.
“I have confirmed that yes, there is one specific program that can be done. It is not going to be anything fancy for you but it will clear your arrearages out and even reduce your payments to $531 a month and at least it will be a permanent fix. If I have your documents tonight, at the latest tomorrow, I think we can get approval stamped for you to at least get you some kind of help here, drive that payment down, bring you current again.”
The Durhams faxed the paperwork that night, then started calling and calling. Nothing. Then an email arrived on the day of the sale. It stated CitiMortgage was “unsuccessful.” It was too late, “due to the foreclosure sale being within 7 days.”