Finance findings you may have missed

By The Center for Public Integrity

How big financial institutions profit off homeowners, investors and consumers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… es have been removed. Keep reading …"

Megabanks have prison financial services market locked up

By Daniel Wagner

Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & Co. avoid competitive bidding process in contracts serving federal prisoners.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Prison":

"… hone services. The bank’s monopoly extends across the federal Bureau of Prisons system — 121 institutions housing 214,365 inmates. Since 2000, Bank of …"

"… ilies send them. The banks’ exclusive deals came not from the Bureau of Prisons, but from the U.S. Treasury. The agency awarded the contracts using a 15 …"

"… n account inactive for three months. JPMorgan, Treasury and the Bureau of Prisons declined to provide a current fee schedule for the cards. Bank of America …"

"… nt fee schedule for the cards. Bank of America, JPMorgan and the Bureau of Prisons all declined numerous requests to discuss the banks’ deals inside U.S. …"

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

By Daniel Wagner

Private company profits by helping prisons squeeze inmates' families for cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "sheriff":

"… was stealing the money.” Capt. William Lawhorn of the St. Lucie County sheriff’s office said that inmates are charged a $25 initial booking fee, $3 a d …"

"… he spent months driving around upstate New York, pitching JPay to “every sheriff, whether they had five inmates or 100 inmates” — without success. The …"

'Zombie' homes haunt Florida neighborhoods

By Alison Fitzgerald and Jared Bennett

Neighborhoods devastated by thousands of abandoned homes as banks fail to follow through on foreclosures.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Alabama":

"… for alleged predatory lending that led to abandoned homes, but Birmingham, Alabama’s lawsuit failed, according to Kathleen Engel, a law professor at Suffol …"

Homeowners steamrolled as Florida courts clear foreclosure backlog

By Alison Fitzgerald

Why are Florida's courts rushing to clear more than 700 foreclosure cases per day?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… ll an order in the St. Petersburg courthouse to sell his home on Sept. 29. …"

"… y be brusque, but her actions aren’t unusual among foreclosure judges in Florida, who in the last year have been working under explicit directions from the …"

"… ing the time it takes a bank to foreclose. What began as an effort by the Florida Legislature and judicial leaders to help the state’s economy by moving p …"

"… les that differ from those that guide civil law in other types of cases in Florida and across the country. The state set an express goal of disposing of 256 …"

Washington's cynical misinformation game

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: the role of distortion in health care politics.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Chamber of Commerce":

"… nother organization insurers frequently call upon to front for them is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As the National Journal reported in 2012, AHIP funneled more th …"

Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington

By Daniel Wagner and Alison Fitzgerald

Industry campaign cash flows to pro-bank activists in Congress, yielding big returns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… rs served to amplify the messages regulators were receiving from JPMorgan, Bank of America,  the American Bankers Association and dozens of others asking them t …"

"… rett wrote another letter, reiterating their demands and citing reports by Bank of America and Moody’s Analytics that were also cited in at least three bank and tr …"

Debt collectors go after service members despite protections

By Daniel Wagner

Soldiers and sailors are being threatened by debt collectors to pay up on ttheir debts illegally, report says.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… ies have pursued several big-name violators of these laws in recent years. Bank of America is paying out $37 million to people who were foreclosed on illegally under …"

Retailers band together to fight health reform law

By Erin Quinn

Companies, trade groups band together to lobby on issues of common interest.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… among those named in E-Flex’s reports to Congress, as are health insurer Aetna, the Food Marketing Institute and the National Restaurant Association. …"

Former subprime executive making risky loans again

By Daniel Wagner

Andy Pollock, who led First Franklin's bad loan factory, is pushing interest-only loans at new firm.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… le consumers nearly sank Merrill Lynch, which was forced to sell itself to Bank of America. WDB Funding is the third mortgage company Pollock has helped lead since r …"

Ex-SEC chief now helps companies navigate post-meltdown reforms

By Lauren Kyger, Alison Fitzgerald and John Dunbar

Former regulators profit from their experience with jobs, book deals and speaking fees.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Charles Grassley":

"… than received,” Thorson said in a December 2008 letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. Then in September 2008 WaMu, with more than $300 billion in asse …"

Subprime lending execs back in business five years after crash

By Daniel Wagner

Executives from all of the top 25 subprime lending firms are working in the mortgage business five years later.

Excerpts from this story referencing "WMC Mortgage Corp.":

"… r bank loans. Also on the list is Amy Brandt, who at age 31 became CEO of WMC Mortgage Corp., then owned by General Electric. Brandt‘s properties include a $2 m …"

Ex-Wall Street chieftains living large in post-meltdown world

By Alison Fitzgerald

CEOs of banks that fueled the subprime crisis that led to the economic meltdown largely avoid consequences.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Merrill Lynch":

"… he Center caught up with — Jimmy Cayne (Bear Stearns), Stanley O’Neal (Merrill Lynch), Chuck Prince (Citigroup) and Ken Lewis (Bank of America) are also living …"

"… p was prefaced just days earlier by the departure of Stanley O’Neal from Merrill Lynch. O’Neal had taken over Merrill when it was mostly a retail brokerage fi …"

"… l made overtures, first to Bank of America, then to Wachovia, about buying Merrill Lynch — without the approval of the board, according to a 2010 interview O’N …"

"… r CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, who convinced Bank of America to buy Merrill Lynch for $50 billion just as Lehman was imploding and taking much of the financ …"

Bear Stearns mortgage executives have plum jobs on Wall Street

By Lauren Kyger and Alison Fitzgerald

Executives from the mortgage finance division that helped sink Bear Stearns have similar jobs at major Wall Street banks.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Banking":

"… Business and co-author of The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong With Banking and What to Do About It. “It’s clear that the ones at the top got the …"

Benefit payment change hurts poor

By Daniel Wagner

Move away from paper checks means big money for bank, confusion for some Social Security beneficiaries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… d by states and other governments to deliver payments to consumers include Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, U.S. Bancorp and Citigroup. Comerica offered to issue …"

Super PAC to tout North Carolina House speaker

By Michael Beckel

Group launched to tout North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis ahead of potential Senate run.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Election Commission":

"… tion's more competitive races in 2014. Grow NC Strong registered with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, new documents show. The paperwork identifies Michael Luethy …"

Senators investigating Apple own company stock

By Dave Levinthal and Reity O'Brien

Heitkamp, Carper report stock together worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pfizer":

"… ares of other massive companies such as General Electric, ExxonMobil, Pfizer and Bank of America, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. …"

Mel Watt enjoys close ties to financial industries

By Alison Fitzgerald

Bank leaders, PACs made prospective housing agency leader a top recipient of campaign cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… the last election cycle, the political action committees of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Wells Fargo each gave Watt’s campaign $10,000. Bank of America …"

"… Bank of America and Wells Fargo each gave Watt’s campaign $10,000. Bank of America and Goldman each gave an additional $5,000 to Watt’s leadership PAC. Wa …"

"… es Committee and he represents the Charlotte, N.C., area, which is home to Bank of America and was home to Wachovia, until it failed and was purchased by Wells Fargo …"

"… former CEO Franklin Raines chipping in $1,500 to help Watt keep his seat. Bank of America, Watt’s hometown bank that got a government bailout after buying money-l …"

Bank of America, unions among newly named inauguration sponsors

By Dave Levinthal

Sponsors of Obama's second inaugural have spent nearly $283 million on lobbying since 2009.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lobbying":

"… ffice, a Center for Public Integrity review of federal disclosures shows. Lobbying forces donating to Obama’s inaugural have spent nearly $283 million …"

"… l donor, financial investment firm Ariel Investments, has spent $200,000. Lobbying expenditures by newly disclosed union entities donating to the inaugural c …"

ALEC's decades of 'right-to-work' effort pay off in Michigan

By Paul Abowd

Think tank’s 32-year 'right-to-work' campaign succeeds in union stronghold

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Legislative Exchange Council":

"… ry, and it marks the revival of an effort long promoted by the influential American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that has seen its share of controversy …"

Bailed-out banks, Freddie Mac, AIG gave $6 million to 2008 conventions

By John Dunbar and Michael Beckel

Corporate donors to 2008 party conventions included financial institutions bailed out by government.

Excerpts from this story referencing "San Diego":

"… al Telephone & Telegraph offered $400,000 if the GOP would bring it to San Diego. Eight days later, the administration of President Richard Nixon dropped a …"

"… in the press, Republicans tried to save face and moved the convention from San Diego to Miami Beach.The scandal prompted Congress to enact a new law that would …"

Report: Some lose homes over as little as $400

By The Associated Press

Some homeowners lose houses for a little as $400 in overdue taxes, consumer group says

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… s City, Kan.Rao said he believes the actual number is much higher. He said Florida alone sold $2 billion worth of tax liens in 2008.JPMorgan and Bank of Amer …"

Report: Countrywide won influence with discounts

By The Associated Press

Subprime lender Countrywide bought influence of Washington elite with mortgage discounts

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… volume of Countrywide's subprime mortgages. Countrywide was taken over by Bank of America in January 2008, relieving the financial services industry and regulators …"

"… er chairman of the Oversight Committee. Towns issued the first subpoena to Bank of America for Countrywide documents, and current Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., su …"

"… re documents. The committee said that in responding to the Towns subpoena, Bank of America left out documents related to Towns' loan.—Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif. …"

Countrywide whistleblower chosen for Ridenhour award

By Michael Hudson

Countrywide whistleblower chosen for Ridenhour award for truth-telling in the public interest.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Countrywide Financial Corp.":

"… truth-telling.Eileen Foster, the former top mortgage fraud investigator at Countrywide Financial Corp. and Bank of America, was one of the five people honored with Ridenhour Pri …"

Beer and wine wholesalers behind legislators pushing controversial voter ID laws

By Paul Abowd

Wholesalers among those behind legislators pushing controversial new election rules.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… ID measures. Since 2011, five ALEC-member legislators in Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, Kansas and South Carolina were primary sponsors of voter ID bills and rel …"

"… he said. “There is no connection.” Rep. Taylor did not return calls.In Tennessee, longtime Sen. Bill Ketron sponsored a successful voter ID bill in 2011. S …"

New whistleblower cases allege continued bank fraud

By Amy Biegelsen and Emma Schwartz

Mortgage modifications and appraisal processes in question

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… t with five major lenders.  A suit unsealed March 7 alleges that Bank of America fraudulently misled borrowers and regulators in order to keep customers ou …"

"… ted.As a condition of accepting $45 billion from the federal bank bailout, Bank of America promised to help move troubled borrowers into the taxpayer subsidized Home …"

"… gory Mackler, formerly an employee of Urban Lending Solutions, the company Bank of America contracted to manage HAMP complaints.Mackler claims the company developed …"

"… were eligible for federally subsidized loan modifications.The suit claims Bank of America:Told borrowers and regulators that a complaint was “under review” whil …"

Virginians protest General Electric over foreclosures

By Amy Biegelsen and Emma Schwartz

Group says company should reinvest where its loans went bad

Excerpts from this story referencing "WMC Mortgage Corp.":

"… rs who received subprime loans from the company's now-closed mortgage arm, WMC Mortgage Corp.WMC, was the subject of a Center for Public Integrity investigati …"

Raging against the foreclosure machine

By Ben Hallman

Automated foreclosure process creates errors, stifles modifications and enrages helpless homeowners

Excerpts from this story referencing "broker":

"… . On Sept. 12, agents working for Wells Fargo Home Loans generated two “broker price opinions”—estimates, basically, of the value of the Stewart home …"

Bank of America to pay record settlement over Countrywide abuses

By John Dunbar

Bank of America to pay record settlement over Countrywide abuses

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America":

"… s occurred between 2004 and 2007, the peak of the subprime borrowing craze. …"

"… anic victims are identified in the complaint and will receive compensation.Bank of America in a statement said that it does not discriminate. The abuses occurre …"

Management gurus claim they were blindsided by toxic culture at Countrywide

By Michael Hudson

Survey showed Countrywide suffered from bad ethics, bad management, ex-employee says

Excerpts from this story referencing "Boeing":

"… th its own rituals and myths.Niemela, a management guru who’d worked for Boeing and other big employers, told the group of executives that research showed …"

"… ch to Peak Performance.”In 2005, Countrywide recruited Niemela away from Boeing, hiring her as a first vice president in the company’s human resources d …"

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