Inner City
        Press' Bank Beat Reporter

  

     Welcome to Inner City Press’ Bank Beat.  We aim to scrutinize the industry, from high to low. Our other Reporters cover Community Reinvestment, the Federal Reserve, and other beats.   ICP has published a (double) book about the Bank Beat-relevant topic of predatory lending - click here for sample chapters, an interactive map, and ordering information. The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters." See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of 'Predatory Bender']," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. The Pittsburgh City Paper says the 100-page afterword makes the "indispensable point that predatory lending is now being aggressively exported to the rest of the globe." Click here for that review; click here to Search This Site. Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere, which include bank-related topics.

Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere. Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations. New: Follow us on TWITTER   BloggingHeads.tv  Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.  Until next time, for or with more information, contact us.

July 22, 2019

Bank of China Accused Of Terrorism Finance With Iran and Hamas After PRC Government Was Told

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, July 19 – Bank of China is being sued for cooperating with and wiring money for Hamas and Iran, resulting in terrorist attack and death. The complaint states that the Chinese government was informed but the wiring continued. Now Bank of China has hired the Dorsey lawfirm which argued on July 19 that it is all OK, to US District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Katherine Polk Failla.

   In a July 19 oral argument at which Inner City Press was the only media, Bank of China through counsel argued that there is no way they can control or be responsible for whom they move money for. Then they argued that the most they could do is file a Suspicious Activity Report or SAR. But did they do so, for the wiring of money by S.Z.R. Al-Shurafa through two accounts at its branch in Guangzhou? This was not answered.

  While China cites terrorist as the justification for locking up a million Uighurs in Xinjiang, its desire to put deals in the Middle East and Persia with oil producing states produces incongruous results. But will this case every get to trial? Not if the Dorsey firm, and China, have anything to say about it. More on Patreon here. Watch that and this site.

July 15, 2019

   The OCC under Joe Otting is lawless. On Fifth Third they said, no public comments on conversions - which is against the law. Now they are taking comments on another conversion, but not big 5/3 one, and not on changes in bank control. Lawless...

Details RECEIPT 6/27/2019 BRANCH ESTABLISHMENT 2019-SOBRANCHNEW309710 CADENCE BANK, NA PRESTON CENTER BRANCH 5950 SHERRY LANE DALLAS TX DALLAS 7/19/2019 Details RECEIPT 6/28/2019 BUSINESS COMBINATIONS 2019-CECOMBINATION309756 TIME FSB RIVER CITIES BANK 1601 LINCOLN ST. WISCONSIN RAPIDS WI WOOD 7/26/2019 17 ACTION DATE TYPE APPLICATION NUMBER BANK NAME BRANCH NAME TARGET BANK LOCATION CITY STATE COUNTY CMT PD END Details RECEIPT 6/24/2019 CHANGE IN BANK CONTROL 2019-SO-CBCA309665 INTERCREDIT BANK NA N/A 4725 SOUTHWEST 8TH ST. MIAMI FL DADE 7/14/2019 Details RECEIPT 6/28/2019 CONVERSIONS 2019-CECONVERSION309714 WINTRUST BK WINTRUST BANK, N.A. 231 SOUTH LASALLE ST. CHICAGO IL COOK Details RECEIPT 6/28/2019 CONVERSIONS 2019-CECONVERSION309724 WINTRUST BK WINTRUST BANK, N.A. 231 SOUTH LASALLE ST. CHICAGO IL COOK

July 8, 2019

On Argentina IMF Lipton Says Deal To Access $5.4B After Inner City Press Asked of Corruption

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

NEW YORK CITY, July 5 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed media briefing on June 27, Inner City Press submitted six questions including on Zimbabwe and Moldova which the IMF answered, see below. On July 5 on Argentina the IMF issued this: "Mr. David Lipton, the International Monetary Fund’s Acting Managing Director issued the following statement today on Argentina:     “I am pleased to announce that IMF staff and the Argentine authorities reached an agreement on the fourth review of the economic program supported by the Stand-By Arrangement. Subject to the approval of the Executive Board, Argentina would have access to about US$ 5.4 billion (SDR 3.9 billion).     “I commend the Argentine authorities on their continued efforts and steadfast implementation of their economic policy program. The authorities completed all their fiscal, monetary and the social expenditure targets under the IMF-backed program in the context of this review.     “Argentina’s economic policies are yielding results. Financial markets stabilized in May and June. Inflation – while still at high levels – is expected to continue to fall in the coming months. The fiscal and external positions continue to improve. There are also signs that the economy is improving in the second quarter.     “I fully support Argentina’s efforts to bolster confidence, lay the foundation for sustainable growth and protect the most vulnerable. Steadfast implementation of the commitments and policies underlying the authorities’ IMF-backed program will be critical for continued progress. I look forward to discussing this review with the IMF’s Executive Board on July 12." We'll have more on this.

July 1, 2019

Inner City Press Asks IMF About Zimbabwe and Moldova Questions Answered Here By Camilla Andersen

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

NEW YORK CITY, June 27 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed media briefing on June 27, Inner City Press submitted six questions including on Zimbabwe and Moldova which the IMF answered. On Pakistan Inner City Press asked, "On Zimbabwe, what is the IMF's response to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube saying 'The first order of business is to clear the arrears and then move on to phase two, which is the bilateral discussions with the Paris Club' - asked if Zimbabwe would seek financing from the IMF next year, Ncube said: 'Why not? We can only ask, they can only say no'?"  Camilla Andersen, Assistant Director of the IMF's Communications Department, read out Inner City Press' question and replied among other things that while Zimbabwe has cleared its arrears to the IMF, other debts that would have to be cleared remain. She cited the Staff Managed Program running into 2020 (transcript to come).

 On Moldova Inner City Press asked, "On Moldova, please confirm or deny this from the government: "The head of the IMF mission, Ruben Atoyan, said that the International Monetary Fund had quite attentively monitored the situation in Moldova and that the Fund showed full openness to help Moldova.  ... The resumption of the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and implementation of the provisions of the memorandum of economic and financial policies will allow Moldova receiving the last two installments of the financing program on behalf of the Fund, worth about 66 million Dollars."  The IMF's Camilla Andersen replied among other things that the the IMF has disbursed $112 million under the program and continues to assess (full transcript to come).

OneCoin Defendant Ignatov Is Denied Bail And Private Jail By SDNY Judge Ramos

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 28 – Detention was continued for OneCoin defendant Konstantin Ignatov on June 28, after he offered to pay armed guards to keep him in an apartment he would rent in Manhattan. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Edgardo Ramos questioned the source of the bail money that Ignatov was offering to put up, as well as issued raised about the propriety of "private prisons" of  the type now incarcerated UN briber Ng Lap Seng was allowed to live in during the pendency of his case.

  Ignatov's lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman noted that Bernie Madoff got bail, and that the government could not show any contact between Ignavov and his sister Ruja, indisputedly higher up in the OneCoin scheme. But Judge Ramos, after more than an hour of argument, was not convinced. The case is US v. Ignatov, 17-cr-630 (Ramos); more on Patreon, here.

  In other SDNY corporate crime news, the US  quietly filed a criminal antitrust case against Banca IMI trader Larry D. Meyers - who quietly pled guilty and agreed to cooperate on June 27 before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Inner City Press can report.

  The case involves violations with the Sherman Act with respect to American Depository Receipts. It is a quiet part of a larger case. On June 27 the representative of DOJ's Antitrust Division said Meyers will get a 5K1.1 letter if he fully cooperates. She then said the sentencing could be set for October 7 at 2:30 pm.  So will all of the cooperation be by then?

June 24, 2019

Banca IMI Trader Meyers Faces Genteel Prosecution For ADR Violations Of Antitrust Laws

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 19 – The US has quietly filed a criminal antitrust case against Banca IMI trader Larry D. Meyers, concealing the case number and adjourning what was listed as a plea proceeding on June 19 before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Inner City Press can report.

  The case involves violations with the Sherman Act with respect to American Depository Receipts. It is a quiet part of a larger case.

   Back on 9 May 2019 DOJ Antitrust Division criminal chief James J. Fredricks signed a "Notice of Intent to File An Information" against Meyers. Through so-called "Wheel B" it was assigned to SDNY Judge Engelmayer, by Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang.

 On June 5 - it is not clear where -  Meyers and his attorney Dan Portnov "waive[d] in open court prosecution by indictment and consent[ed] that the proceeding may be by information instead of by indictment."

   That way, instead of through the more public Magistrates Court, Meyers' presentment was before Judge Engelmayer, with a Docket Number listed as "19-CR- [blank]," quickly released on $100,000 bond, travel restricted to the US and Ireland unlike most defendants confined to two or three US Districts.

  This is the VIP aisle of indictments, with the DOJ helping to avoid any possible perp walk.

  And so it was that while the week's SDNY "Civil and Criminal Proceedings Calendar" for the week of 06/17/19 listed on June 19 at 5 pm a plea before Judge Engelmayer in USA v. Meyers, 19-cr-[blank], the courtroom of Judge Engelmayer where Inner City Press had been earlier in the day on a Hobbs Act robbery trial was empty.

  There was no sign on the door explaining why, as was done for example on the door of Judge Deborah Batts about Michael Avenatti. There are VIP lines, and vip lines.

 Currently the docket does not show where the next proceeding will take place. But Inner City Press believes it knows. Watch this site - and for more, see its Patreon, here.

While many even most cases in the Magistrates Court of the SDNY are sealed, on June 19 Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in processing three alleged co conspirators did not use the word sealed or docketing delayed.

June 17, 2019

Inner City Press Asks IMF About Pakistan Haiti and Kenya Questions Answered Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

NEW YORK CITY, June 13 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed media briefing on June 13, Inner City Press submitted a half dozen questions including on Pakistan, Kenya and Haiti which the IMF answered. On Pakistan Inner City Press asked, "what is the IMF's response to JI leader Sirajul Haq criticism of the "budget of IMF purely concentrating only on increasing taxes and prices of essential commodities, and was just read out by its slaves.  He said the budget did not care about reducing the problems of common man and price hike, adding that it was just a jugglery of figures and words which was incomprehensible even to the economic champions of the government."

  IMF Spokesperson Gerry Rice in the briefing said, transcript and video here: "There is a question on Pakistan, from our friend Matthew Lee in New York, asking in summary what is the IMF's response to the criticism of the Pakistani budget which was recently announced that the IMF is purely concentrating on increasing taxes and prices and doesn’t care about reducing the problems of the common man. Again, stepping back, Pakistan has requested a program from the IMF. Last month we reached a staff level agreement on that program so that’s now under discussion. So, I don’t really have a specific comment on the budget.  But in terms of our discussions, I can say that we are talking about broadly how to restore stronger, more balanced growth by reducing domestic and external imbalances, improving the business environment, strengthening institutions, increasing transparency and importantly protecting social spending. So that last part does indeed speak broadly to the point that Matthew is raising, that social spending is and protecting social spending is in fact an important part of the discussion that we are having on a program with Pakistan."

 Inner City Press asked asked, "On Kenya, please state the status with the IMF given reports that the country is "on course to renewing its $1.5 billion standby credit facility with the IMF signing a deal with selected banks to release close to Ksh1 trillion ($10 billion) in loans to the private sector despite the prevailing rate caps."  On the upcoming June 25-26 Bahrain conference on Palestine, given that the IMF has said it "has been invited to the meeting and expects to attend, along with other international financial institutions," please state if the IMF understands that the wider United Nations will attend, and/or has been invited."

Rice said, "There is a question on Kenya. “Please give the status of the IMF program with Kenya given reports that it's on course to renew its standby credit facility.” And on that about all I can say is that negotiations indeed are ongoing on a Fund supported program. I don't have a timetable on that but with the negotiations are underway."

  Inner City Press asked asked, again, for an update on Haiti.

 Rice said, "There is a final question online that I want to take which is on Haiti and asking about developments there and the status of IMF discussions on a program. And again, this is a case where recently there have been protests on the streets and some violence I'm sad to say. So, on that front of course as always, we express our condolences for the loss of life there in Sunday's demonstrations in particular. And, what I can also say is that of course we hope that the dialogue can go forward there and, you know, eliminate the violence that’s taking place and that we can have some consensus around a reform agenda.  On the program and discussions around the program, given the time that has now elapsed since the IMF team reached a staff level agreement, that was back in March. And given the changes in Haiti's' economic situation a reassessment of the economic framework and of the measures needed to stabilize and support the economy is going to be needed before we would be in the position to propose a program to our executive board. That said, we look forward to engaging with Haiti's new government as soon as feasible to find the best way forward and to protect the most vulnerable groups, improve governance and secure macroeconomic stability. So that’s where we are on Haiti."

  It's appreciated.

June 10, 2019

Kam Wong Gets 66 Months For Stealing $10M From Municipal Credit Union Opioids From Board Member

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Alamy photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 4 – When Kam Wong came to be sentenced for stealing nearly $10 million from New York City's Municipal Credit Union on June 4 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl, the courtroom was full, including Stella M. Mendes, Administrator of the MCU as it went into NCUA conservatorship.

  Judge Koetlt repeatedly asked if the conservatorship was based on financial condition - that is, the theft of funds by Wong - or the management. At one point Assistant U.S. Attorney Eli J. Mark stood up to answer, until his colleague Daniel C. Richenthal stopped him. Ultimately, no one from the NCUA or New York State Department of Financial Services spoke at the sentencing.

  While the Guidelines called for 97 to 121 months, Judge Koeltl imposed a sentence of 66 months, still longer than those bank executives responsible for the subprime financial meltdown. Judge Koetlt also recommended Wong for the Bureau of Prison's drug problem, over the government's objection.

  Wong' defense lawyer Jeffrey H. Lichtman said he'd never seen the government take such a position in his 28 years as an attorney. AUSA Richenthal called it "offensive" to say the government merely wanted to avoid any shortening of Wong's sentence.

  Lichtman wrote in his sentencing submission that "with help from his dentist and a crooked member of the MCU's Supervisory Committee, [Wong] put himself on a daily regimen of judgment suppressing opiates, popping hydrocodone pills and sipping from a bottle of codeine laced syrup at his desk," citing PSR Paragraphs 43, 93-96. But who might that be? More on Patreon, here.

June 3, 2019

Noah Bank CEO Edward Shin Puts Up $1M Bond and Must Undergoing Alcohol Testing

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Alamy photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 30 – Noah Bank's Edward Shin was on arrested for defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration on May 29 and would, it was said, be presented later on May 29 before Magistrate Judge James L. Cott in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

  Inner City Press after reporting the arrest went the SDNY Magistrate's Courtroom 5A and was told Shin would be presented at some undefined later hours. But with the door to 5A locked at 4:30 pm, Inner City Press was told Shin "has not been presented, there are no terms.  Tomorrow is more likely." And later, as Inner City Press waited in front of the locked door, staff emerged with a more specific prediction: 2 pm May 30.

  In fact it happened slightly before then. Here are the terms of Shin's release: "Surrender travel documents and no new applications; travel restricted to SD/EDNY, DNJ, EDPA. $1 Million bond secured by $25,000 cash and signed by two co-signors (condition to be met within a week)." And, interestingly, "Alcohol testing / treatment." Inner City Press has been contacted by those covering Shin well before this, who said that Shin "threatened to kill a borrower [and] was sued for reneging on a board control deal." We'll have more on this.

  So this is a banker who will spend the night in custody, unlike bribing banker Stephen Calk. We'll have more on this.

 to will be there, as it was for last week's presentment of bribing banker Stephen Calk, see below. In that case, the government agreed to Calk going free on $5 million bond with nationwide travel without notice, unlike for example Michael Avenatti.

  From the first statement: "the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the arrest of EDWARD SHIN, the CEO of a Pennsylvania-based bank (the “Bank”), for taking bribes in connection with the Bank’s issuance of loans that were guaranteed by the United States Small Business Administration (“SBA”).  SHIN was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint charging him with taking bribes by siphoning off a portion of commissions on SBA-guaranteed loans and causing the Bank to issue SBA-guaranteed loans to companies in which SHIN had a secret interest."

  The bank is Noah Bank, and Shin has previously tried to sue the media for reporting on his misdeeds. And now?

  More: "      SHIN secretly solicited and received bribe payments in connection with SBA-guaranteed loans issued by the Bank and caused the Bank to extend SBA-guaranteed loans to companies in which SHIN had secret ownership interests.  Specifically, when the Bank issued a business loan involving a certain broker (the “Broker”), SHIN secretly arranged to receive a portion of the Broker’s fee.  On other occasions, when the Bank issued a business loan that did not involve the use of an actual broker, SHIN arranged to have the Broker inserted unnecessarily into the transaction solely to generate a broker fee that could be shared with SHIN; in fact, the Broker did no actual work to earn a commission on those transactions, but split the “broker’s fee” with SHIN as an illegal kickback.                

SHIN also arranged for the Bank to issue SBA-guaranteed loans to businesses in which he secretly retained an ownership interest, in violation of SBA regulations and procedures.  For example, in or about December 2010, the Bank issued an SBA-guaranteed loan for approximately $950,000 to a business in New York, New York.  Although documents submitted to the Bank for purposes of securing the loan did not mention SHIN’s ownership interest, the business was secretly operated as a 50-50 partnership between SHIN and the Broker.  After the loan was issued in or about October 2014, this loan went into default status, ultimately resulting in a loss to the SBA of approximately $611,491." Watch this site.

May 27, 2019

IMF Denies Congo B Conflict of DSK Role When Inner City Press Asks on Barbados and Canada Too

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

NEW YORK CITY, May 23 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed media briefing on May 23, Inner City Press submitted four questions including on Republic of Congo, Barbados and Canada which the IMF answered. On Congo-Brazzaville Inner City Press asked, "what is the IMF's response to / comment or explanation on  the May 15 letter addressed to Congolese Prime Minister Clement Mouamba that "The advisers to the Republic wish to make you aware of the major risk of the programme’s rejection by the IMF’s board,” said Congo hired French financial advisers Lazard and more recently Parnasse, a firm employing former IMF Managing Director Dominique Stauss-Kahn, to assist it in the negotiations with the Fund. How is this not a conflict of interest?"

  IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice to his credit took the question, on camera, emphasizing that the discussion have been only between IMF staff and the authorities, no one else. He said that address the conflict of interest question. He also noted the IMF's May 9 announcement of a staff level agreement. But when will it go to the Board?

 On Barbados, Inner City Press asked for "   the IMF's response to Senator Crystal Drakes saying  that the Mia Mottley administration may have hit the benchmarks set under the IMF-sanctioned Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation programme but is ignoring it’s sustained and impending collateral damage to the society.  “All of this has come at a social cost. Meeting those targets have been economic winds but socially we have paid a serious price for meeting those targets.  “In reducing our debt and closing the fiscal gap, Barbadians had to give up their wealth, particularly the vulnerable group of pensioners.  “Their disposable income through higher taxes and user fees, has resulted in persons falling below the poverty line.”

  Rice said the IMF's discussions had been with social partners including the unions and that the floor for social spending had been met, by an ample margin, in December and March.

 On Canada Inner City Press asked, "   On Canada, please explain how this IMF "advice" is not anti-poor: “The government is under pressure to ease macroprudential policy or introduce new initiatives that buttress housing activity,” said the IMF in its report.  “This would be ill-advised, as household debt remains high and a gradual slowdown in the housing market is desirable to reduce vulnerabilities.”  The tightened mortgage rules, brought in by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, mandated that would-be borrowers undergo a stress test to determine whether they could still make payments if faced with higher interest rates or less income.  In a report last month that calls for a rethinking of the mortgage stress test, CIBC economist Benjamin Tal estimated the measure accounted for more than half of a $25-billion, or eight per cent, drop in new mortgages last year." Rice said, among other things, that the IMF supports the government. More on this, including transcript, to follow.

May 20, 2019

FOIA Fee Waiver Sleaze By OCC Otting Tells Inner City Press Public Does Not Need WSFS Bank Merger Docs

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, May 18 – With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, his latest move is to deny access to documents about the application to the OCC for WSFS to acquire Beneficial Bank and close 25 branches. Inner City Press requested the records months ago, along with a request for a waiver of fees as the other Federal bank regulators grant it and as the OCC has until now.

  But Otting is different. First he denied a fee waiver on Inner City Press' request for his calendar. Then he relented on that, after Inner City Press citing case law and precedent. But seemingly in retaliation, he has denied access to a merger application subject to public comment. Denial here on Scribd.

  Ironically the grounds cited is that releasing this information about a merger subject to public comment would not increase the public's understanding. This shows Otting contempt for CRA - and for the public. Now it's ever worse. His claim is that while he might have to wave fees for OCC document, he can withhold / hinder the release of the bank's underlying application. But how can the public access what his OCC does on the application, without seeing the application? In a Friday afternoon dump on May 17 this came in from the OCC: "Mr. Lee,  I am writing to follow-up on the FOIA Appeal you submitted regarding the fee waiver denial for request 2019-00206-F.  In the denial, Mr. Frank Vance identified his concern about lack of information for the third public interest factor – contribution to public understanding.  However, on appeal, I am providing you an opportunity to address the first factor – how the requested records specifically concern identifiable operations or activities of the government and the second factor – how the requested records are likely to contribute to an understanding of specific government operations or activities.  In your appeal you assert that disclosure of the information sought will document and reveal the activities of the federal government, including how the OCC reviews CRA and branch closing aspects of the merger between WSFS and Beneficial.  However, the records you requested are for the withheld portions of the application filed by WSFS.  Your request does not seek any records of OCC action before or after receiving the WSFS application.  See Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Reno, No. 00-0723, 2001 WL 1902811, at *10 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2001) (upholding agency's assessment of fees, reasoning that while agency's response to citizen letters regarding Cuban emigré Elian Gonzales would likely contribute to understanding of agency actions, incoming citizen letters to agency on that topic do not).  Emphasis added to DOJ summary.  If you would like to supplement your appeal with additional information that demonstrates how the WSFS application itself contributes significantly to public understanding about the operations or activities of the OCC, please do so." We'll have more on this.

May 13, 2019

Mergers we are looking at:

May 3, Florida credit union buying Iowa bank's Florida assets: MIDFLORIDA credit union has announced its intent to merge with Community Bank & Trust of Florida and acquire the Florida assets of First American Bank of Iowa..  There is another one like this, credit union buying bank, in Washington State, here.

May 2, Kansas: First Bank of Newton will be merged into the INTRUST Financial Corporation according to a releaseput out by First Bank. According to the release, the merger should be complete by Aug. 1...

May 1, Wisconsin: First State Bancshares, Inc., parent company of First State Bank, announced purchase agreementwith Pioneer Bancorp, Inc., parent company of Pioneer Bank...

April 30, MS into LA and TX: Hancock Whitney Bank and Lafayette-based MidSouth Bank announced today they have entered into a proposal for MidSouth to merge into Hancock Whitney in a stock-for-stock transaction...

April 24, NC: First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company (First Citizens Bank) and Entegra Financial Corp. (Entegra)announced today the signing of a definitive merger agreement. Entegra provides deposit and loan services through its subsidiary, Entegra Bank... These was a spurned suitor: "The parent company of SmartBank has terminated what would have been its biggest merger yet.  SmartFinancial, Inc. said Wednesday a proposed $158.2 million purchase of Entegra Financial Corp. in North Carolina broke apart after SmartFinancial decided not to match a competing offer for Entegra from First Citizens Bank in North Carolina."

April 24, Alabama: CBS Banc-Corp, Inc. ("CB&S"), headquartered in Russellville, Alabama, and PrimeSouth BancShares, Inc. ("PrimeSouth"), headquartered in Tallassee, Alabama, today jointly announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement whereby PrimeSouth Bank will merge with and into CB&S Bank...

May 6, 2019

On Belt and Road Inner City Press Asks IMF Which Cites Tajik and Kyrgyz Debt But Not Money Laundering

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

NEW YORK CITY, April 29 – As China uses its Belt and Road Initiative to take over ports in Sri Lanka and prospectively Kenya, its role in Central Asia was asked about by Inner City Press on April 29. The International Monetary Fund held a press conference about the Caucasus and Central Asia and Inner City Press asked, "On the Belt and Road, what are the specific debt and possible corruption issues for BRI in Central Asia? What can the IMF say, and what is it doing, in Central Asia about water scarcity and disputes, and separately anti money laundering compliance?"

 IMF Assistant Director Mark Horton replied that there is mounting debt to China, saying the problem is particularly acute in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. He said that any projects should in the IMF's view avoid worsen water disputes as well as debt unsustainability. Money laundering was not addressed - yet. Managing Director Lagarde will be in the region from May 16 to 21...

April 29, 2019

In SDNY Sumitomo Sued For Discrimination Responds With Demand For Attorneys Fees For Proskauer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow up to exclusive

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, April 22 – An on again off again Wall Street employee who sued Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation for discrimination and retaliation had a day in court on April 22, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge J. Paul Oetken. Opposing her, as for Qatari royals in the same courtroom, was the Proskauer Rose law firm, which has moved for her to have to pay attorneys fees. The pro se plaintiff Maureen Ottoson said her prior lawyer sold her out, only wanted to settle on the cheap after Proskauer asked for $160,000 in fees before now deceased Judge Robert Sweet.

   Judge Oetken who now has the case said he will consider a motion for attorneys fees ocassioned by Ottoson dropping and then reinstating a discrimination claim. He set a final pre-trial conference for June 19 and a trial, jury or bench, for July 8. The conference, apparently not captured by any official SDNY court reporter and with only Inner City Press as media present, ended with Proskauer again saying they would drop the attorney's fees request only if Ottoson dismisses the discrimination complaint "with prejudice." The index number and more and on Patreon, here. We'll continue to follow that case - and this one: the Qatar ruling family's abuse of employees and laws was exposed in an off the record initial conference at in the SDNY on February 14; Inner City Press was the only media present. Inner City Press wrote an exclusive story that day, February 14, then more in the following few days as more sources contacted us. Now it has learned that the UK's Daily Mail days later on February 21 false claimed an exclusive on the story, here.