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.

December 5, 2022

For Enabling Jeffrey Epstein JPM Chase & Deutsche Bank Sued In SDNY Dec 5 Rakoff

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book
BBC - Honduras - CIA Trial book - NY Mag

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 29 – J.P. Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank were sued for their enabling of Jeffrey Epstein, in lawsuits filed on Thanksgiving in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where Inner City Press found them in the docket.

  The separate lawsuits allege that "without exorbitantly large amounts of cash, Epstein's operations could not run, as newly recruited victims were each paid hundreds of dollars in cash immediately after Epstein sexually abused them, as hush money."

   But there's more, and Inner City Press is on it. For now, the JPM Chase complaint is on Patreon, here.

On November 29, both cases were assigned to SDNY Judge Jed S. Rakoff, as "related" to a previous case against Deutsche Bank he has. Both have a proceeding on December 5 that Inner City Press will cover.

Now Deutsche Bank complaint on Patreon here

Maximum Maxwell book here.

Meanwhile, the UN has yet to answer Inner City Press on why SG Antonio Guterres maintained a rep on the board of Ghislaine Maxwell's Terramar Project (instead bannign the Press); Norway won't answer on its AMbasador Mona Juul and Terje Roed Larsen taking $130,000 personal loan from Epstein.

Watch this site. 

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Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

November 28, 2022

Lakeland Bank Redlined in NJ and NY Now Set to Cash Out to Provident, Lawsuits Filed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book
BBC - Honduras - CIA Trial book - NY Mag

SOUTH BRONX, Nov 23 – It is said the fair lending is being taken more seriously. Or is it being gamed more?

Take the example of Lakeland Bank. In New York State in 2021, it made 27 mortgage loans to whites, and NONE to African Americans, Fair Finance Watch has found.

   In New Jersey, it made 19 loans to African Americans - but 1224 to whites. It is redlining.   That week the Justice Department announced a $13.2 million fair lending settlement with Lakeland.

  But it was a game - in the same week, Landland announced it would apply to be bought by Provident Bank with $1.3 billion - that's billion - and its CEO Thomas Shara Jr. would stay on as executive vice chairman. Call it impunity. 

   In fact, it would appear that the Federal government is in on it, with the merger and the minimal fine being coordinated, a sort of pre-approval of the merger despite the Community Reinvestment Act. It shouldn't be, and all parties should be required to make full disclosure.

Before the FDIC's comment period's set closing on December 1, and Federal Reserve on December 15, two separate shareholders' lawsuits were filed in SDNY against Lakeland Bancorp and its directors Thomas J. Sahra, Mary Ann Deacon, Bruce D. Bohuny, Brian Flynn, Mark J. Fredericks, Briang Gragnolati, James E. Hanson II, Janeth C. Hendershot, Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr., Robert E. McCracken, Robert Micholson, III, and Robert F. Mangano. We'll have more on this.

Inner City Press on the FOIA - watch this site.

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Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

November 21, 2022

Goldman Sachs Indicted Insider Trader Goel Disputes Audio Seeking Delay But June 12 Trial

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC - Honduras - CIA Trial Book - NY Mag

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 17 – Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Brijesh Goel was arraigned on insider trading charges on the morning of July 28, 2022. Inner City Press there - although the arraignment had not be listed in the docket, nor announced by prosecutors.

 Goel's case is assigned to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel, who held the arraignment.  

 Even afterward, the docket did not contain any notice of the arraignment - in contrast to the July 27 arraignment for insider trading of former Indian Congressman Steve Buyer, Inner City Press story here, video here.

  Goel, represented by defense lawyer Reed Brodsky who was still not listed on the docket - no notice of appearance? - after the proceeding, pleaded not guilty.

Assistant US Attorney Joshua Naftalis said his office agreed to release on $1 million bond, and no contact with "CC-1."

   Brodsky, too, was concerned about CC-1. He specifically asked that all information about debriefing sessions with CC-1 be provided in two or three weeks, so that he or successor counsel can decide by the September 14 next conference whether to file motion.

This was incorporated into Judge Castel's Rule 5(f) order.

  Goel is accused of feeding inside information to his graduate school friend and squash partner Akshay Niranjan, at Barclays. 

 Brodsky said Goel "could not consent" to excluding time under the Speedy Trial Act. But then after conferring, he did not oppose. Time was excluded. 

On November 17, another conference was held, and Inner City Press was there. Brodsky said that the audio in the case is inaudible. Judge Castel said this came up before him recently - yes, in US versus former Honduras president Juan Orlando Hernandez, as Inner City Press reported. Brodsky said he might make a motion, unlike JOH's counsel Raymond Colon.

Brodsky had other motions, some of which Judge Castel asked why he had "sat on" until this conference. When the time came to set the trial date, Brodsky asked for October, but Judge Castel put it at June 12 with motions due before that. Inner City Press will continue to cover the case - watch this site.

 The case is US v. Goel, 22-cr-396 (Castel)

November 14, 2022

Barclays Bank Delaware and AmEx Are Sued Under FCRA For Not Investigating ID Theft

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book
BBC - Honduras - CIA Trial book - NY Mag

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 9 – Rajvir Batra sued Barclays Bank Delaware and others for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as a victim of identity theft. Experian furnished Plaintiff's dispute to Barclays via e-Oscar, but Barclays did not investigate.

  On November 7, 2022, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Lewis J. Liman held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it. 

 It was said there have been no settlement talks, but that the hired of a private mediator is being mulled. Judge Liman said depositions are due by March 6, 2023, and any motions for summary judgment by June 16. He set a conference for May 30, 2023.

 The case is Batra v. American Express Company, et al., 22-cv-6768 (Liman)

beyond Fair Finance Watch's comments on Republic - CBank,

Oct 27, also KY etc: Peoples Bancorp is proposing to buy Kentucky-based Limestone Bancorp; a combine bank would have branches also in Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington DC;

Oct 19, PA:  Citizens Financial Services, Inc., holding company for First Citizens Community Bank aim to buy HV Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for Huntingdon Valley Bank;

Oct 18, New Mexico: Western Bank of Clovis proposes to merge with Western Commerce Bank, headquartered in Carlsbad;

Oct 12, Texas: Houston-based Prosperity Bank will apply to acquire two other Texas banks, FirstCapital Bank of Texas, headquartered in Midland, and Lone Star State Bank of West Texas, headquartered in Lubbock;

Oct 11, Illinois (small, but...) Fisher Bancorp, Inc. parent of The Fisher National Bank, proposes to merge with Catlin, Illinois-based Butler Point, Inc., the holding company of Catlin Bank;

November 7, 2022

With Flagstar's NYCB Bid Stalled at FRB Amid Wisp of  Fair Lending Action OCC Whispers on Digital

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - CJR - PFT

SOUTH BRONX / SDNY, Nov 3 – Back in April 2021, Fair Finance Watch and Inner City Press predicted that the proposed merger of New York Community Bank and Flagstar would flounder, on disparate lending and regulatory evasions.

  Fair Finance Watch found that in 2019 Flagstar made 60,982 mortgage loans to whites, with 13,963 denial to whites - while making only 3799 loans to African Americans with fully 1777 denials to African American. This was significantly worse than other lenders.

  New York Community Bank's record as an enabler of and profiteer off slumlords led Inner City Press file a Community Reinvestment Act challenge to its then-proposed merger with Astoria Bank, which fell apart.

Now more than a year a half later, the proposed merger is still not done amid talk of, as we predicted, fair lending action.

But with the Fed not yet ruling, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency this week hauled off and handed out an approval. (This while the OCC brags about a February 2023 symposium on mergers - more on this to follow). These two banks immediately extended their drop dead date, and said "The Fed Approval is not expected to have any associated waiting period." They talk about the Fed approval as a fait accompli. And why no waiting period?

On November 3, with the approval order still not made available clearly on the OCC website, it was reported that the OCC whispers conditions: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's approval of the pending deal between New York Community Bancorp Inc. and Flagstar Bancorp Inc. is subject to multiple conditions related to digital assets.  One merger approval condition from the banking watchdog is related to New York Community's participation and equity investments in the USDF Consortium, an association including nine banks that aims to further the adoption and interoperability of tokenized deposits by referencing fiat currency on blockchain.  New York Community's unit, New York Community Bank, is a founding member of the Consortium and participated in one of the first tests in January, helping a customer receive payments via USDF minted by another member, NBH Bank, a subsidiary of National Bank Holdings Corp. The Consortium relies on the Provenance Blockchain, a public blockchain that can be accessed by developers via Provenance's utility token Hash.  As New York Community Bancorp and Flagstar Bancorp plan to form a national bank as a result of the merger, to be known as Flagstar Bank NA, the combined entity is required to obtain written permission from the OCC to retain its membership interest in the USDF Consortium.... Flagstar NA shall not increase its membership interest in the USDF Consortium or its holdings of Hash or any other crypto-assets without the OCC's permission, according to the approval letter.  In another digital-asset related condition, Flagstar NA must submit, within 30 days after the merger is closed, a written request for supervisory non-objection regarding activities related to crypto-asset, distributed ledger or stablecoins addressed in OCC Interpretive Letters 1170, 1172 or 1174. Flagstar NA will otherwise cease and divest of these activities within two years after the merger closes, according to the approval letter.  Other bank members of the USDF Consortium include FirstBank, a subsidiary of FB Financial Corp.; Webster Financial Corp.'s Webster Bank NA; Synovus Financial Corp.'s Synovus Bank; Amerant Bank NA; Atlantic Union Bankshares Corp.'s Atlantic Union Bank; ConnectOne Bancorp Inc.'s ConnectOne Bank; and Primis Financial Corp.'s Primis Bank.

October 31, 2022

With Flagstar's NYCB Bid Stalled at FRB Amid Wisp of  Fair Lending Action OCC Jumps Gun

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - CJR - PFT

SOUTH BRONX / SDNY, Oct 28 – Back in April 2021, Fair Finance Watch and Inner City Press predicted that the proposed merger of New York Community Bank and Flagstar would flounder, on disparate lending and regulatory evasions.

  Fair Finance Watch found that in 2019 Flagstar made 60,982 mortgage loans to whites, with 13,963 denial to whites - while making only 3799 loans to African Americans with fully 1777 denials to African American. This was significantly worse than other lenders.

  New York Community Bank's record as an enabler of and profiteer off slumlords led Inner City Press file a Community Reinvestment Act challenge to its then-proposed merger with Astoria Bank, which fell apart.

Now more than a year a half later, the proposed merger is still not done amid talk of, as we predicted, fair lending action.

But with the Fed not yet ruling, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency this week hauled off and handed out an approval. (This while the OCC brags about a February 2023 symposium on mergers - more on this to follow). These two banks immediately extended their drop dead date, and said "The Fed Approval is not expected to have any associated waiting period." They talk about the Fed approval as a fait accompli. And why no waiting period?

October 24, 2022

After SBA Fraud Trial of Shin Noah Bank Wants Bank of Princeton To Buy It But Issues

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Alamy photos

Federal Court / S Bronx, Oct 22 – Noah Bank's Edward Shin was on arrested for defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration on May 29, 2019 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 conditions agreed to."

  Jump cut to April 25, 2022. The case was re-assigned to Judge John P. Cronan, who has set trial for April 26. On the eve of it the US put in SBA documents about loans to produce companies, offering to redact some.

On October 6, 2022, Judge Cronan sentenced Shin to 14 months "in prison for his role in defrauding a Pennsylvania-based bank (the “Bank”) while serving as its CEO.  SHIN was convicted after a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge John P. Cronan on all counts, which charged SHIN with taking bribes in connection with the Bank’s issuance of loans that were guaranteed by the United States Small Business Administration Judge Cronan sentenced SHIN to three years of supervised release and ordered SHIN to pay forfeiture in the amount of $5,506,050 and a $600 special assessment fee."

On October 14, the US Attorney's Office wrote to Judge Cronan "to inform the Court that that Government has consulted with Noah Bank; the Bank is no longer seeking restitution in light of its settlement with the defendant."

Just after that, Noah reached an agreement to sell itself to The Bank of Princeton. It is hard to believe that the troubling compliance issues seen in the trial have been resolved. So what will the regulators do, when the issues are put before them? Watch this site.

October 17, 2022

New Book on Trevor Milton Fraud Conviction Has Nikola Whistleblowers, Trial from Inside

Review, Patreon Maxwell Book Schulte Book
Books - Guardian - Honduras - NY Mag

LITERARY SDNY Review, Oct 14 – In September and October 2022 Trevor Milton, founder of Nikola Motor was put on trial for fraudulent claims about NKLA's hydrogen trucks.

On October 14, Milton was found guilty on three of four counts.

   Now, published hours after the verdict there is a book by Matthew Russell Lee, who live tweeted and reported on the trial daily, and put questions to Milton and his lawyers in Foley Square outside.

    The author was each day in the courtroom of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Edgardo Ramos, and venturing farther afield to investigate leads exclusively give to him and Inner City Press and by Nikola whistleblowers.

   As the trial wound down, SDNY-admitted lawyer Matthew Russell Lee published descriptions of documented destroyed within Nikola, and guilty knowledge by officials still at the company.

   Material from those whistleblowers, the trial and even some more speculative and literary excursions featuring recurring characters Kurt Wheelock and Michael Randall Long, featured in the Ghislaine Maxwell book "Maximum Maxwell" as noted by New York Magazine, here, made its way at the speed of the Internet into the new book

"Hydrogen Heist: The Trial of Nikola's Trevor Milton: On Fraud, Guilty of 3 of 4 Counts; From Musk and Tesla Wannabe to Convict in SDNY, by Matthew Russell Lee

  E-book here; paperbook forthcoming. 

    This review will leave it to others to find over-reaches and typos. For his reporting, Lee was banned from the United Nations in 2018 by SG Antonio Guterres, whose Media Accrediation chief Melissa Fleming has ignored appeals from a UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and, pro bono, the law firm of Quinn Emanuel.

   One might surmise that history leads to some of the book's (over?) identification with the defendant.  

    A full scope instantaneous view of and taking off from trials like US v. Trevor Milton seems to be Inner City Press' project here.

And here it is.

In SBA Fraud Case Shin Got 14 Months in SDNY, Settles with Noah Bank so no Restitution

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Alamy photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 14 – Noah Bank's Edward Shin was on arrested for defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration on May 29, 2019 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."

Then on February 12, 2021 leading up to a trial scheduled for August 16, Judge Woods rejected many of Shin's motions in limine - evidence will come