Showing posts with label Banks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Banks. Show all posts

May 9, 2015

Major Banks Will Erase Consumer Old Debts -Under Investigation from Justice-





Two of the nation’s biggest banks will finally put to rest the zombies of consumer debt — bills that are still alive on credit reports although legally eliminated in bankruptcy — potentially providing relief to more than a million Americans.

Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have agreed to update borrowers’ credit reports within the next three months to reflect that the debts were extinguished.

The move is a victory for borrowers whose credit reports have been marred as a result of the reported debts, imperiling their job prospects and torpedoing their chances of getting new loans.

The change by the banks emerged this week in Federal Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, where the two banks, along with Citigroup and Synchrony Financial, formerly GE Capital Retail Finance, face lawsuits accusing them of deliberately ignoring bankruptcy discharges to fetch more money when they sell off pools of bad debt to financial firms. 

Bernadette Gatling said she has lost job opportunities because employers viewed her credit report, which included voided debts.Debts Canceled by Bankruptcy Still Mar Consumer Credit ScoresNOV. 12, 2014
The lawsuits accuse the banks of engineering what amounts to a subtle but ruthless debt collection tactic, effectively holding borrowers’ credit reports hostage, refusing to fix the mistakes unless people pay money for debts that they do not actually owe.

It is not the only pressure. Lawyers with the United States Trustee Program, an arm of the Justice Department, are investigating the banks, said several people briefed on the inquiry, about whether the banks are deliberately flouting federal bankruptcy law.

In an apparent, if oblique, reference to the inquiry, a lawyer for Synchrony Financial told the judge at a hearing this year that the lender was under “investigation” by the Justice Department.

JPMorgan, Synchrony Financial and Bank of America declined to comment for this article.

But the banks have offered defenses in court documents, arguing that they comply with the law and accurately report discharged debts to the credit agencies. Their lawyers have also argued that the banks typically sell off debts to third-party debt buyers and have no stake in recouping payments on the overdue bills. The banks’ practices were the subject of a front-page article in The New York Times.

Without admitting any wrongdoing, lawyers for JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America agreed to ensure that bankruptcies were registered on credit reports. A lawyer for JPMorgan Chase, according to court documents, said that by August the bank would ensure that all debts discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy were correctly recorded.

Late last year, Synchrony Financial agreed to provide similar relief, at least on a temporary basis.

Under federal law, once a borrower has erased a debt in bankruptcy, banks are required to update the credit reports to indicate that the debt is no longer owed, and remove any notation of “past due” or “charged off.”

Bank of America promised to go further, agreeing to fundamentally change the way the bank reports all the stale debts that are sold to financial firms. For all credit-card debts sold since May 2007, court records show, the bank will remove any marks on consumers’ credit reports. That way, a lawyer said, “should a previously sold credit card account go through a bankruptcy discharge,” the mark will already be gone. 

They are people like Bernadette Gatling, a hospital administrator, who went through bankruptcy to void debts she owed on Chase credit cards. While the process was grueling, she said, she thought it would offer her a second chance.

She was floored in March 2014 when three years after bankruptcy, she found that her credit report was still marred by the seemingly unvanquishable debts.

“I lost job after job because of this,” she said, adding that potential employers would suddenly stop calling once they viewed her credit report.

There has been a fierce battle over the lawsuits, brought by Charles Juntikka, a bankruptcy lawyer in Manhattan, and George F. Carpinello, a partner with Boies, Schiller & Flexner.
  
Judge Robert D. Drain, who is presiding over the cases, has repeatedly refused the banks’ requests to throw out the lawsuits. In July, when he refused to dismiss the case against JPMorgan, he said, “The complaint sets forth a cause of action that Chase is using the inaccuracy of its credit reporting on a systematic basis to further its business of selling debts and its buyer’s collection of such debt.”

At a hearing in April, transcripts show, the judge criticized Citigroup for not changing the way it reports debts to the credit reporting agencies. “I continue to believe there’s one reason, and one reason only, that Citibank refuses to change its policy,” the judge said. The reason, the judge went on, is “because it makes money off of it.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Citigroup said the bank “takes this issue very seriously,” adding that the bank has made a proposal to the plaintiff’s lawyers “consistent” with what the other banks have proposed.

In the hearing this week, lawyers for Citigroup indicated that they were on the brink of making a change similar to what Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have agreed to, an alteration that could change the credit reports of tens of thousands of people. For many borrowers, the credit report is the difference between getting a job and being turned down.

With so much at stake, borrowers are willing to do almost anything — even pay debts that they worked hard to discharge in bankruptcy.

Diane Torres, who went through bankruptcy in 2010, said she was on the verge of becoming one of the people who paid for debts she no longer owed. The only thing that stopped her, Ms. Torres said, was that she could not afford it. 
The problems began, Ms. Torres said, when she applied for a job with a credit union and was told that her credit report showed she had two delinquent accounts — one on a Chase credit card and the other on a credit card from GE Money Bank. Unless she fixed the problem, Ms. Torres said, she would not get the job.

When she contacted both lenders, Ms. Torres said, she was told that unless she paid, the debts would remain as charged off.

“I felt desperate,” she said. “It was urgent that I pay these debts or else I would not get the job that I really needed.” But after, at the suggestion of her bankruptcy lawyer, she provided the credit union with a record that she had voided the debts in bankruptcy, she got the job.

A version of this article appears in print on May 8, 2015, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: 2 Banks Agree to Erase Debts From Credit Reports After Bankruptcies . 

November 27, 2013

Not Making Much on Money Kept at Your Bank-It could change by You Paying the Bank Instead

  •  I hear people complaint that they don’t make any money on checking or savings any more. How about having to pay the bank to keep your money with them? We were told by the banks that they wanted our money. Think about all those commercials we have been watching and listening to since we were growing up. It’s true they want your money, what they didn’t tell you and me is that they want to keep our money…for good! 

  • The banks call it “lazy behavior” You and I will call it something else.You can make your own name! ‘Lazy Behavior’ Bank customers could look forward to being charged to keep their money in U.S. banks.
  • That’s the latest threat coming out of Wall Street, according to a report in the Financial Times, as financial institutions look to combat a possible interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve on its bank reserves.
  • { Plain language from adamfoxie: The feds are making the banks keep what they think is too much money to cover their transactions. The feds pays them the interest rate, which varies sometimes. The feds have lowered interest rates to help the economy by making it cheaper for business to borrow money. Plenty of money around to keep things functioning well. The banks don’t have a problem with that but since the feds want to lower the rates more, the banks will make less money on the supply of money that they have, thus wanting to charge somebody for making a bit less profit. That someone is always the consumer since it’s the one with less power to kick back. As for the term ‘Lazy” I think is the wrong term, so I will let you give it your own name but lazy is not so bad a name, since that’s the name we give someone who doesn’t want to work for their money. I’m sure some will start calling it pillow talk or Mattress investment }
  • This latest potential step would be a hit to depositors, already earning close to zero interest on checking and savings accounts.
  • But the banks say it’s a side effect of the Fed’s quantitative-easing strategy and its eventual tapering of its asset purchases of $85 billion a month, which has created high liquidity within banks. The report cited executives at two of the top five U.S. banks, who said a cut in the 0.25 percent rate of interest on the $2.4 trillion in reserves they hold at the Fed would lead them to pass on the cost to depositors.
  •  
  • If you look at the chart, the amount of cash held at the Fed used to be negligible but is now in excess of $2.3 trillion. The logic is that the Fed wants the banks to stop parking their “lazy cash” at the Fed and start doing something with it, say experts.
  • FederalReserve Bank of St. Louis
  •  “From the Fed’s point of view, by discouraging banks from leaving their excess cash at the fed, they are encouraging banks to buy securities in the market (the same as the what they are doing with quantitative-easing purchases) or to go out into the market and make loans,” said Joshua Siegel, managing partner and CEO at StoneCastle Partners.
  • And banks, given their current capital requirements, can be a little riskier, and funds being deployed back into the market would be good for the economy, noted Siegel.
  • “My understanding is that banks are supposed to lend to make profit,” said Brad Hintz, analyst at Alliance Bernstein. “And not just recycle cash to the Federal Reserve.”
  • Savings accounts don’t actually cost that much to operate for banks, but checking accounts do actually cost a lot of money and have a great benefit to consumers. While customers do pay for these via minimum-balance requirements, when there is a low-interest environment, it’s not much revenue for banks.
  • In the last few years, the debit-fee legislation coming out of the Durbin Amendment as part of the Dodd Frank Act has limited transaction fees imposed on merchants by debit card issuers. That has effectively hit consumer-banking revenues pretty hard, say analysts.
  • But the interest on excess reserves was a temporary stop-gap measure allowing banks to earn interest by holding money at the Fed. What the Fed is now saying is that it was never meant to be permanent.
  • – Sital S. Patel
  • – Follow The Tell on Twitter @thetellblog
  • Adam Gonzalez, Publisher 

April 30, 2012

Wall St Execs Convene Again on LGTB Work Rights



Top Wall Street Executives Convene for First Time on LGBT Equality

Bank of America and CEO Brian Moynihan Host Second Annual Event

 
NEW YORK, Apr 30, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Top executives, including CEOs, from some of Wall Street's biggest banks, along with C-suite executives from other industries will meet to discuss LGBT equality at the second annual Out on the Street Leadership Summit on May 2, 2012. Bank of America Merrill Lynch will host the event at its New York headquarters. This represents the first time that so many senior executives will meet to discuss LGBT equality.
Building on the success of the inaugural summit in 2011, the 2012 summit will focus on the role that support for LGBT equality can play in the retention of talent and the conduct of business. In addition to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, featured speakers include, Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs; Paul Singer, CEO of Elliott Capital Management; Ken Mehlman, head of global public affairs, KKR; Lynn Utter, president & COO, Knoll Furniture; John Veihmeyer, Chairman, CEO KPMG LLP; and special guest moderator George Stephanopoulos from ABC.
The senior-level representation at the full-day summit reflects the groundbreaking role 
financial services, in particular Wall Street banks, have taken in advancing LGBT rights. Whether reimbursing LGBT employees' pay to address the tax inequalities of domestic 
partner benefits or taking highly visible stances on marriage equality, these leaders exemplify the willingness of financial services companies to go beyond the relative safety of employee engagement issues, such as support for LGBT employee groups, into larger issues affecting their LGBT employees.
"We are proud to support the cause of LGBT equality. People are the most valuable resource our company has, and our support for initiatives like this one matters deeply to them," said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs.
The 2012 Out on the Street summit agenda also includes Sylvia Ann Hewlett of the Center for Talent Innovation, who will be unveiling the early findings of the Center's new global LGBT research, "The Power of Out II." Co-sponsored by Out on the Street, and coauthored by its founder Todd Sears, the study will include deep dives on gender and international challenges.
Breakout sessions will explore a number of topics including the intersection of gender and sexual orientation, how LGBT support translates outside U.S. borders and emerging LGBT opportunities and challenges.
"The movement towards full LGBT equality in the U.S. is driven by corporate leaders such as the members of Out on the Street who are taking increasingly public stances of support," said James P. Gorman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Morgan Stanley, a founding OOTS member.
Member companies of Out on the Street realize that despite the progress in corporate policies, significant challenges still remain for the LGBT community. In just one year, the number of member companies has grown from the founding six banks (Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley) to eleven organizations, 
with the addition of Credit Suisse, HSBC, KKR, KPMG LLP, and UBS.
"Instead of remaining in the safe zone of advocating for LGBT workplace equality which upwards of 70% of Americans support; these companies have taken courageous stances in more controversial areas, marriage equality, support for which only recently passed the 50% mark in polls," (1) Sears said.
1) Gallup Poll, May 20, 2011: http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/first-time-majority-americans-favor-legal-gay-marriage.aspx
ABOUT OUT ON THE STREET: Out on the Street is the first LGBT leadership organization 
for Wall Street, by Wall Street. The summit focuses on bringing senior LGBT leaders together from major Wall Street firms to discuss vital issues, network and collectively set an forward looking agenda for the community on the Street.
2012 Out on the Street Members: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, KKR, KPMG LLP, Morgan Stanley and UBS.
Created and developed by Todd Sears, diversity leader and former banker, its mission is to engage both gay and straight senior leaders in discussions around making the Street a destination for top talent, as well as to enhance the careers of LGBT senior leaders by creating connections to increase opportunities for business. Out on the Street Leadership Summits bring together senior leaders--LGBT as well as straight allies--to discuss vital issues including cultural change, recruitment, client development and ways to maximize business impact.

        
        
ORGANIZATION                  CONTACT NAME           EMAIL                                  PHONE
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  —————————————— -------   
        Out on the Street             Jonathan Saw           jonathan@outonthestreet.org            917-273-6498
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ————————————— 
        Bank of America               John Yiannacopoulos    john.yiannacopoulos@bankofamerica   646-855-2314
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  —————————————— 
        Barclays                      Mark Lane              Mark.Lane@barclayscapital.com          212 412 1413
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ——————————————— -  ------------
        Citi                          Anu Ahluwalia          Anu.ahluwalia@citi.com                 212-559-4114
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ——————————————— -  ------------
        Center for Talent Innovation  Karen Sumberg          ksumberg@talentinnovation.org          212-315-2333
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ———————————————— -  ------------
        Credit Suisse                 Perrin Wheeler         perrin.wheeler@credit-suisse.com       212 325 8978
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ——————————————— -  ------------
        Deutsche Bank                 Sigalit Grego          sigalit.grego@db.com                   212-250-6952
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ——————————————— -  ------------
        Goldman Sachs                 Leslie Shribman        leslie.shribman@gs.com                 212-902-5400
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ———————————————— 
        HSBC                          Rob Sherman            robert.a.sherman@us.hsbc.com           212-525-6901
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ——————————————— -  ------------
        KKR                           Kristi Huller          Kristi.Huller@kkr.com                  212-230-9722
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  —————————————— -  ------------
        KPMG                          Laura Sheridan Powers  lsheridan@kpmg.com                     212-872-7665
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ——————————————— -  ------------
        Morgan Stanley                Sandra Hernandez       sandra.hernandez@morganstanley.com     212-761-2446
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ————————————— 
        UBS                           Karina Byrne           karina.byrne@ubs.com                   212-882-5692
        ----------------------------  ---------------------  ————————————— 
        

SOURCE: Out on the Street and Bank of America
        
        Out on the Street 
        Jonathan Saw, 917-273-6498 
jonathan@outonthestreet.org

Gay Friendly Companies:
These companies were on the list for both 2007 AND 2008:
Company Headquarters Website 
 American Express Co. New York, NY http://www.americanexpress.com
 Ameriprise Financial Inc. Minneapolis, MN http://www.ameriprise.com
 Bank of America Corp. Charlotte, NC http://www.bankofamerica.com
 Capital One Financial Corp. McLean, VA http://www.capitalone.com
 Charles Schwab Corp. Francisco, CA http://www.schwab.com
 Citigroup Inc. New York, NY http://www.citi.com
 Credit Suisse New York, NY http://www.credit-suisse.com
 Deutsche Bank New York, NY http://www.db.com/
 Fannie Mae Washington, DC http://www.fanniemae.com
 Goldman Sachs Group Inc. New York, NY http://www.gs.com
 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. New York, NY http://www.jpmorganchase.com
 Lehman Brothers Holdings New York, NY http://www.lehman.com
 Mellon Financial Corp. Pittsburgh, PA http://www.mellon.com
 Merrill Lynch & Co. New York, NY http://www.ml.com
 Morgan Stanley New York, NY http://www.morganstanley.com
 State Street Corp. Boston, MA http://www.statestreet.com
 SunTrust Banks Inc. Atlanta, GA http://www.suntrust.com
 Visa Foster City, CA http://www.visa.com
 Wachovia Corp. Charlotte, NC http://www.wachovia.com
 Wells Fargo & Co. San Francisco, CA http://www.wellsfargo.com
 These companiesare new additions to the 2008 list:
 CompanyHeadquarters Website 
 Bear Stearns Companies Inc., The New York, NY  http://www.bearstearns.com
 Countrywide Financial Corp. Calabasas, CA http://www.countrywide.com
 HSBC North America Holdings Inc. Prospect Heights, IL http://www.hsbcusa.com
 IndyMac Bancorp Inc. Pasadena, CA  http://www.indymacbank.com
 KeyCorp Cleveland, OH http://www.key.com
 KPMG LLP New York, NY http://www.us.kpmg.com
 MasterCard Inc. Purchase, NY http://www.mastercard.com
 Northern Trust Corp. Chicago, IL http://www.northerntrust.com
 Principal Financial Group Des Moines, IA  http://www.principal.com
 U.S. Bancorp Minneapolis, MN  http://www.usbank.com
 UBS AG Stamford, CT http://www.ubs.com
 Washington Mutual Inc. Seattle, WA  http://www.wamu.com

Feel free to post comments about your experiences with Gay Friendly Companies. If you'd like to recommend a company for this section, let us know!

November 9, 2011

Wells Fargo Opens Branch For Fams.Making Over $50 Mil


Scrooge-McDuck.jpg

http://blogs.villagevoice.com
By Nick Greene

Stand down, Zuccotti protesters, the banks have heard your calls for reform and are yielding to your demands. The majority of the country has been enveloped in financial turmoil, and one of the big banks is finally taking steps to institute change: Wells Fargo is creating a boutique bank for the super rich. According to the ChicagoSun-Times, the wealth management unit will be named "Abbot Downing" and will only service families with more than $50 million in their coffers. Rumor has it, when you open an account you get free Looney Tunes checks.

Wells Fargo is combining its existing boutique firm Lowry Hill with its Family Wealth department to create Abbot Downing, and it's slated to begin operations next April. The name Abbot Downing comes from a 19th century high-end stagecoach manufacturer, and it is appropriate considering America's wealth disparity is nearing 1830's levels.
The Sun-Times reports the firm will feature "a full range of services to cater to the super rich, complete with psychologists and staff to build family genealogies."

October 28, 2011

Banks Reverse on Debit Fees

Big Banks Backtrack on Debit FeesTed S. Warren / AP Photo
A month after Bank of America got pummeled by consumers and politicians for introducing plans for new debit-card fees, most other big U.S. banks are steering clear of imposing similar charges.
 Following eight months of consumer testing, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has decided that it won't charge customers who use their debit cards to make purchases, according to a person familiar with the bank's plans. The New York bank's Chase retail unit is one of the largest U.S. consumer banks, with 26.5 million checking accounts and 5,300 branches.
J.P. Morgan joins U.S. BancorpCitigroup Inc.,PNC Financial Services Group Inc., KeyCorp and other large banks that have said in recent days that they won't impose monthly fees on debit cards. None of those banks said they made their decisions because of the outcry over Bank of America's fees.
"We looked at all options and quickly decided it didn't fit with our overall strategy," said David Bowen, who runs the consumer-product business at Cleveland-based Key, which ranks among the
20 largest banks in the country. Banks are loading fees onto customer accounts in an attempt to recover billions of dollars in revenue that will be lost from new restrictions on debit cards, credit cards and overdrafts. Most big banks have already eliminated free checking for customers who don't meet certain criteria on their accounts, such as minimum balances or a certain number of direct deposit transactions.
 Bank of America Corp. has begun laying plans to charge millions of customers $5 a month if they use their debit cards to make purchases. The bank is still working out details of its plans, which likely won't affect all customers, according to a person familiar with the situation.SunTrust Banks Inc., Atlanta, is also tacking a $5 monthly fee on some debit-card users, while Regions Financial Corp. of Birmingham, Ala. is charging $4 a month on some accounts.
 Wells Fargo & Co. is testing a $3 monthly debit-card fee in five states. The debit-card fees stem from a provision in last year's Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law that reduced by roughly half the amount that banks are permitted to charge merchants for debit-card transactions. Merchants had long complained that they were being charged too much to accept debit cards, which are typically used instead of cash and checks.
The debit-card fees have sparked an outcry among politicians—including members of Congress and President Obama—as well as customers, who have threatened to close their bank accounts and move to other institutions.
Banks are expected to lose more than $6 billion in annual revenue as a result of the new rules, according to industry estimates.
[DEBIT_JUMP]
Community banks and credit unions are tapping into that fury by encouraging consumers to move to small institutions that don't charge such fees. Bethpage Federal Credit Union in New York, for example, said this week it signed up 1,500 customers—twice its normal rate—since Bank of America's plans became public.
Other big banks say they determined debit-card fees would cost them as well. "Our customers said that would be a massive source of irritation for them," said Stephen Troutner, Citigroup's head of consumer and small business banking. "Any time you hear that kind of emphatic feedback from customers, you've got to listen to them."
Many banks will likely increase charges in other areas to make up the lost revenue but some banks said they will focus on winning over more customers and convincing them to sign up for more financial products.
Todd Barnhart, head of retail products at Pittsburgh-based PNC, said debit cards are essentially an extension of checking accounts and that consumers don't view them as a separate product.
"I generally think customers don't want to be nickled and dimed," he said.
Indeed, consumers expressed relief that the debit-fee trend is not spreading widely.
"It's not about the money. It's about 'are you kidding me?'" said Amanda Peterson of San Francisco, who banks with U.S. Bancorp. She said she would have "immediately" switched banks if the Minneapolis-based lender had started charging for debit cards.
Chase was one of the first big banks to explore monthly fees on debit cards. The bank began testing monthly fees of $3 in Wisconsin and Georgia in February. Those tests are scheduled to end in mid-November and won't be renewed or expanded for now, said the person familiar with the bank's plans.

chase1028
Getty Images
Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), who wrote the provision which reduced merchant debit-card fees, sent a letter to Wells Fargo Chief Executive John Stumpf last week complaining about the bank's new charges. "It is certainly surprising that your bank would pursue this fee strategy in light of the consumer reaction that has been prompted by Bank of America's recent imposition of a monthly debit fee on its customers. If you were hoping that your new fee would go unnoticed, it has not," he wrote.
In a statement, Wells Fargo said, "We regularly review our pricing and take into account the needs of our customers, industry trends, the market competition and our cost of doing business."

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