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Showing posts with the label CRA

Nationalize the Banks

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According to the Financial Times, megabank Wells Fargo & Co “has asked the U.S. Federal Reserve to remove an asset cap introduced during its accounts scandal in order to allow it to support businesses and customers hit by the coronavirus economic fallout..” The growth cap was imposed after the bank “acknowledged that it improperly foreclosed on 545 distressed homeowners after they asked for help with their mortgages, created 3.5 million fake accounts, charged 570,000 customers for auto insurance they did not need, and illegally repossessed vehicles from hundreds of service members.” Former bank employees state that Wells "targeted black churches” and neighborhoods by offering escalating-interest mortgages, which some loan officers called “ghetto loans.” This week, the bank demanded that call center workers come to the office despite coronavirus, but agreed to pay "all of its domestic full-time employees who make less than $100,000 a year.. a pre-tax payment of $

Two suburban banks test new ways to court urban residents

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By  John Reosti , The American Banker Newspaper.  Published  March 07 2018, 3:10pm EST Howard Bancorp in Maryland and Bryn Mawr Bank Corp. in Pennsylvania, both banks with suburban roots, have marketing challenges on their hands after recent acquisitions in more urban areas. Their goals — to raise their profiles in new, diverse neighborhoods — are identical, but their approaches are very different. The $2.1 billion-asset Howard is so committed to Baltimore that it moved its headquarters downtown from suburban Ellicott City after completing the purchase of First Mariner Bank on March 1. Now, the merged company plans to increase its philanthropy budget and focus it on projects that will benefit what CEO Mary Ann Scully termed “stressed” communities; job training will be a top priority. Bryn Mawr deepened its presence in Philadelphia after acquiring Royal Bank American in December. The resulting $4.5 billion-asset company has established a multicultural advisory board made

Racial predatory loans fueled U.S. housing crisis: study

(From the Firm Grasp of the Obvious Department at the American Sociological Review as reported by Reuters....) "Predatory lending aimed at racially segregated minority neighborhoods led to mass foreclosures that fueled the U.S. housing crisis, according to a new study published in the American Sociological Review. Predatory lending typically refers to loans that carry unreasonable fees, interest rates and payment requirements. Poorer minority areas became a focus of these practices in the 1990s with the growth of mortgage-backed securities, which enabled lenders to pool low- and high-risk loans to sell on the secondary market, Professor Douglas Massey of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and PhD candidate Jacob Rugh, said in their study. The financial institutions likely to be found in minority areas tended to be predatory -- pawn shops, payday lenders and check cashing services that 'charge high fees and usurious rates of in

Creative Investment Research, Inc. testifies at the Joint Public Hearing on CRA

Sponsored by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision (The Agencies), the Joint Public Hearing on the Community Reinvestment Act Regulation was held in Arlington Virginia on July 19, 2010. We provided testimony for the hearings. Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1977 “to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low and moderate income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations.” Our testimony follows a series of warnings we have issued since 1998: - In an October 1998 brief filed with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, we objected to the Citigroup/Travelers merger. We cited evidence that growing financial market malfeasance greatly exacerbated risks in financial markets, reducing the safety and soundness of l

Treasury Announces Intention to Implement Portions of Overhaul Via Executive Order

On a conference call with Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions David Nason yesterday, Treasury Department officials announced that they will implement many parts of their plan to overhaul the nation's financial regulatory structure by executive order. This includes "streamlining the approval process for securities that contributed to the crisis now roiling Wall Street." According to the Washington Post , "The Treasury's initiatives seek to sweep away the current patchwork of regulation over the coming decade in favor of three more powerful agencies to oversee banking, market stability, and consumer and investor protection." Treasury officials also acknowledged that the plan is "silent on CRA," or the Community Reinvestment Act. As Paul Krugman noted, "Traditional, deposit-taking banks have been regulated since the 1930s, because the experience of the Great Depression showed how bank failures can threaten the whole economy. Supp