Inner City Press' Community Reinvestment Reporter

  

     Welcome to Inner City Press’ CRA Report.  Our other Reporters cover the financial services industry, human rights, the Federal Reserve, and other beats.  ICP has published a book about the CRA-relevant topic of predatory lending - click here for sample chapters, a map, and ordering informationCBS MarketWatch of April 23, 2004, says the the novel has "some very funny moments," and that the non-fiction mixes "global statistics and first-person accounts."  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']," City Limits, 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.

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. 2014: MRL on Beacon Reader  For or with more information, contact us.

February 24, 2020

Community Reinvestment Act Attack by Otting Continues But With Comments to April 9

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

SOUTH BRONX, Feb 19 –   The current US Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting cashed out of his position with OneWest Bank in California by overseeing fake comments in favor its acquisition by the CIT Group.

   Then, emboldened, he devoted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to weakening or destroying the Community Reinvestment Act which provides for the public process that he subverted with fake comments.

   Inner City Press, which opposed the merger and then pursued a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents about Otting's fraud, soon found its and Fair Finance Watch's comments to the OCC being rejected, or ignored, or returned. 

  While Inner City Press' FOIA requests get fee waivers from the Federal Reserve and a range of agencies in the US and beyond, Otting's OCC suddenly started denying them, hindering access to the merger applications on which CRA is enforced.   

Otting is trying to push through this CRA-killing proposal on a short comment period, cognizant of the other CRA, the Congressioal Review Act. But it is obvious that even banks want more time.

On January 26, in advance of Otting's belated January 29 House of Representatives appearance, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch submitted a formal comment, below. It included a demand that Otting recuse himself (not yet acted on) and a request for an extension of the comment period.

  Now on February 19 from FDIC, this: "FDIC and OCC Announce 30-day Extension of Comment Period for Proposed Changes to Community Reinvestment Act Regulations WASHINGTON – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today extended the public comment period for proposed changes to the regulations implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) until April 8, 2020.  On December 12, 2019, the FDIC and OCC announced a proposal to modernize the regulations under the CRA and provided for a 60-day comment period following formal publication on January 9, 2020 in the Federal Register (85 FR 1204). The FDIC and OCC have now determined that a 30-day extension of the comment period is appropriate."

  So, April 9, more to follow. But Otting must still be recused.

February 17, 2020

Community Reinvestment Act Attack by Otting Questioned In FOIA For Bank Meetings By Inner City Press

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

SOUTH BRONX, Feb 12 – The current US Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting cashed out of his position with OneWest Bank in California by overseeing fake comments in favor its acquisition by the CIT Group.

   Then, emboldened, he devoted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to weakening or destroying the Community Reinvestment Act which provides for the public process that he subverted with fake comments.

  On February 12, Inner City Press submitted a FOIA request: "Dear OCC FOIA Officer: On behalf of Inner City Press, Fair Finance Watch and in my personal capacity this request for records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and OCC regulations. On an expedited basis, this is a request for all record regarding the OCC's January 30, 2020 Meeting with Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) bankers [including

Yvonne Blumenthal, US Bank (Chair)  Lloyd Brown, Citigroup (Vice Chair)  Kelli Arnold, KeyBank  Reza Aghamirzadeh, Citizens Financial Group  Nathalia Artus, Atlantic Union Bank  Jan Bergeson, Ally  Tonya Billings, Independent Bank  Norm Bliss, Bank of the West  Len Bolton, Rockland Trust  Melissa Borino, BMO Harris  Sunada Brookins, Hancock Whitney Bank  Doug Craycraft, Chase  Jennifer Creger, Crescent Bank & Trust  Christina Cudney, United Bank  Jon Davies, Regions  Brad Dossinger, M&T Bank  Scott Fujii, Bank of Hawaii  Alberto Garofalo, Bank of America  Staci Glenn Short, Huntington  Emmanuel Glover, TCF  Seth Goodall, Santander  Joseph Hernandez, TIAA  Amy Howcroft, PNC  Angela Hudson, Bank OZK  Sharon Jeffries-Jones, Truist  Matthew Joy, Mechanics Bank  Lori-Anne Lawton, Webster Bank  Christine Lloyd, HSBC  Robert Manuel, Wells Fargo Bank  Jim Matthews, Capital One  Roddell McCollough, First Financial Bank  Chris McGillis, BBVA Compass  Beverly Meek, Flagstar  Kapil Narang, Ameriprise  Cathy Niederberger, PNC Bank  Donna Normandin, Frost Bank                                                                           , Rey Ocanas, Byron Reed, CIT  Karl Renney, Eastern Bank  Julius Robinson, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.  Kathleen Robinson, TD Bank  Bobbie Salgado, MUFG Union Bank, N.A  Doug Schaeffer, WoodForest  Camino Smith, Banner Bank  Natalie Smith Parker, Synovus  Christopher Stelma, First Commonwealth  Beth Trotter, IBERIABANK  Alan Urie, Synchrony  Paul Vicente, Fifth Third  Amy Walls, Discover

All that has been disclosed is:  "On January 29, 2020, representatives from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) participated in a conference call with representatives of CBA member banks regarding the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR)1 and the associated request for information (RFI).2  The discussion focused on several aspects of the CRA NPR and RFI, including (1) the information and data requested in the RFI, (2) the implementation timeframe, (3) the retail lending distribution tests, (4) data aggregation, (5) where banks will receive credit for qualifying activities, (6) the empirical benchmarks and thresholds, (7) credit for retail loan originations, and (8) data collection."    That is laughable and abusive as it does not contain any information about what the banks, or the OCC, said, in the middle of an already flawed rulemaking process. The records should be provided on an expedited basis and under a FOIA fee waiver Inner City Press has become aware Otting's OCC grants to others, non-media, while denying to ICP in retaliation.    ICP also again requests copies of records sufficient to show all of Comptroller Otting's scheduled meetings, appointments, and scheduled events from the date he became Comptroller to the date of your response including but not limited to Outlook calendar entries and daily briefing books for Comptroller Ottings on those dates.

February 10, 2020

  As Otting's OCC continues its assault on the CRA, even as Otting was outed in another House hearing last week for his fake comments on OneWest - CIT, the OCC stands poised to reward with an approval to buy Fairport Savings none other than Evans Bank, which settled redlining charges. Otting, of course, has never himself seen any discrimination, only heard about it from his family...

February 3, 2020

As House Sees OCC Attacks on CRA Otting Contempt For Protest to Steuben Trust Bid By Community Bank NA

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
The Source - The Root - etc

Bronx / DC, Feb 1 –  With US Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting on December 12 formally moving along with the FDIC to undermine the  Community Reinvestment Act, now with comment period to March 9, two hearings have been held in the House Financial Services Committee. And see our comment here.

On January 11 Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch filed a CRA protest with the OCC to Community Bank NA's application to acquire Steuben Trust Company. It was filed electronically, but there was no response at all from the OCC until a snail-mailed January 27 letter stating "The OCC has decided not to extend the comment period and will not hold a public hearing/meeting." This is Otting's OCC.

January 27, 2020

To Kill Community Reinvestment Act Otting Vows No Delay As His Staff Intimidate Groups

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

Bronx / SDNY, Jan 23 –  With US Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, himself shown to have use fake comments to get paid for selling OneWest to CIT, trying to manipulate the comment period on his proposal to further weaken the  Community Reinvestment Act, on January 22 he bragged that nothing will stop him.

  And in fact, he has deployed OCC staffers once viewed as benign to try to intimidate community groups which have opposed his plan. Inner City Press, denied documents by Otting under FOIA, has been contacted by dozens of groups. They say they have received "weird" calls from OCC staff, who grill them about their views and say they will not provide the notes of the conversations to them.

  The OCC staffers range from NIMBY Barry Wides to Tim Herwig, Denise Kirk-Murray and Norma Polanco-Boyd, among others. Even moderate groups are expressing disgust. But Otting is racing to beat the CRA - not only the Community Reinvestment Act, which he has hated since his OneWest days, but the Congressional Review Act. This is shameful. Inner City Press will have more on this.

  On December 16 Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch filed a CRA protest with the FDIC to Flushing Bank's application to acquire Empire National Bank, see below. Since then it has commented to the OCC on Community Bank NA - so far without any action at all. The OCC under Otting is gutting the CRA.

January 20, 2020

On OCC Attack on CRA Even Bankers Say More Analysis Needed As Gramm Chimes In

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
The Source - The Root - etc

Bronx / DC, Jan 15 –  With US Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting on December 12 formally moving along with the FDIC to undermine the  Community Reinvestment Act, now with comment period to March 9, on January 14 a hearing was held in the House Financial Services Committee - about but without Otting, a regulator not only rogue but also reclusive. He will appear, it is said, later in the month.

 And in advance of that, even the bankers' trade group Consumer Bankers Association has written to the House that "More analysis must be undertaken by  stakeholders to better understand the impact the new metrics that will be used to measure  CRA activity for individual institutions and the communities they can serve.     It is crucial that the OCC and FDIC engage with  stakeholders to carefully analyze the real impact of the proposed changes on CRA deserts and  hot spots, to make sure that sufficient incentives are provided to induce banks to serve the  hard-to-reach areas that are most in need of investment."

  Perhaps that's why OCC has taken to contacting some groups outside of the too-short formal commenting process. Will such contacts - some say intimidation - be subject to FOIA, unless Otting undermines it by imposing outrageous fees?

  Former Senator Phil Gramm has chimed in in the Wall Street Journal, linking Otting's proposal to a movement to free banks to lend to payday lenders. Indeed.

  At the January 14 hearing, Rep. Pressley of Massachusetts, for example, pointed out that under Otting's and the FDIC's proposal, a bank could get CRA credit for funding a stadium and jumbotron in low or moderate income area, and other forms of gentrification.

  Too little, however, was said of Otting's attacks since he took office on the enforcement mechanism of CRA: the public comment process on proposed mergers. Otting has denied access to merger application by imposing unheard of fees, and has refused to consider timely comments. We'll have more on this - including in connection with merger comments just filed, see, below.

  The January 14 session was entitled "The Community Reinvestment Act: Reviewing Who Wins and Who Loses with Comptroller Otting's Proposal;" it was held in the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions. See Periscope video here (including Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch live comments.)

January 13, 2020

Now FDIC and Otting Attack on CRA March 9 Deadline As Wells Fargo Tries To Censor

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

Bronx / SDNY, Jan 9 –  With US Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting on January 9 formally publishing notice in the Federal Register along with the FDIC to undermine the  Community Reinvestment Act, the too-short comment period is set: to March 9. Notice here.

  Meanwhile Wells Fargo, one of the less than a handful of banks which dominate the industry in the United States, is asking a federal court to shut down a website. 

  Wells Fargo's motion, filed on January 8, complains that "Defendants have re-posted the very website that defames and threatens Wells Fargo and its employees, agents, attorneys, and vendors involved in this litigation. See Exhibit A, http://www.wwshrimp.com, Website Screen Shots captured 1/7/20. Defendants should now be immediately ordered to take down the Website and should be permanently enjoined from re-posting any of its content again in any public forum."  More on Patreon here.  

    While describing a bank or its lawyers as prostitutes is not nice - and may as to the bank reverse the analysis - Inner City Press finds it highly problematic that a mega-bank, particularly one so recently bailed out by the public, should be trying to shut down a website.

January 6, 2020

In SDNY Schwab - TD Bank Proposed Tie Up Faces Antitrust Suit by Asian American Firm

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - The Times UK - Honduras - The Source 

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 31 – A major proposed merger in the brokerage and banking fields was announced on the morning of November 25: Charles Schwab proposes to buy TD Ameritrade in an approximately $26-billion US all-stock deal. The deal would see Toronto-Dominion Bank, which holds approximately 43 per cent of TD Ameritrade's stock, own a roughly 13 per cent stake in the combined company.

   Inner City Press has reported that fraud scheme OneCoin publicly represented that it had a banking relationship with TD Bank. When action was belatedly (and begrudgingly) taken, questions arise and will be raised as to what TD Bank knew, and when.

  And now in late December Schwab has been sued about the deal, on antitrust grounds under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and Section 7 of the Clayton Act.

  Reports on the suit to date have omitted a key element: the plaintiff, BlackCrown Inc., describes itself in the amendment complaint filed on December 30 as "an independent minority (Asian American) owned and operated SEC registered independent wealth management firm (CRD #298140 / SEC # 801-113929)."

 Antitrust meets fair lending, or fair dealing. The amendment should have been seen to be coming, as the complaint said the proposed merger would “disenfranchise a great segment of the industry by effectively establishing a caste system.”    Ordering TD Ameritrade’s custodial business sold to BlackCrown would “dissipate the anti-competitive effects” of the planned merger, the suit says. Alongside following the states' suit against the proposed T-Mobile / Sprint merger, Inner City Press will be following this (even) longer-shot private antitrust case - watch this site.

   As Inner City Press covered the OneCoin trial last month, a number of names of indicted co-conspirators emerged on which we are now following up.

  One of them was Amer Abdulaziz Salman. From his Phoenix Thoroughbred's, Inner City Press is informed that Dermot Farrington has left.

    As Inner City Press exclusively reported on November 6, surprise cooperating witness Konstantin Ignatov brought up Amer Abdulaziz during his testimony, live-tweeted @InnerCityPress, and see here.

December 30, 2019

Community Reinvestment Act Assault By OCC Joined In By Federal Reserve Hiding Mergers CFPB Hiding Data

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

SDNY / BRONX, Dec 28 – The assault against the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act, begun by Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting then joined in by the FDIC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau withholding mortgage data, has reached the Federal Reserve. 

 For months the Federal Reserve has first slowed down its disclosure of pending merger applications on which the public can comment under CRA, and now outright hide them, such that on its website no proposed mergers have open comment periods. Call it the death, or attempted murder, of the Community Reinvestment Act.

  Alongside comments to the OCC and FDIC, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch on December 28 filed comments with the Federal Reserve: Dear Chair Powell, Secretary Misback, others in FRB:   On behalf of Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch and in my personal capacity, this is questionlessly tiemly protest to one sample application, a complaint about the FRB's failure update its H2A, and on the withholding of 2018 HMDA data in online form by CFPB and other FFIEC regulators including the FRB - and a demand for actions.     Currently as of December 28, the most recent application on the FRB's online H2A has a comment period ending December 20 - that is, already closed. This negligence, or intentional exclusion of the public, has been the case at the FRB for months. All comment periods must be re-opened.    

Here is a timely protest to one sample application that (only) the Federal Register tells us has a comment period expiring "not later than December 30, 2019.A. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Colette A. Fried, Assistant Vice President) 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60690-1414:1. Bosshard Financial Group, Inc., La Crosse, Wisconsin; to merge with Northern Bankshares, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire Mc  Farland State Bank, both of McFarland, Wisconsin.Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, November 25, 2019."    

Second and more systematic problem, that must be solved or all comment periods extended: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for 2018 data has unilaterally removed the ability of the public to view HMDA data by race on its website, which the FFIEC / Federal Reserve allowed in previous years and the CFBP did even in 2017. Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch contends that the CFPB's move is both anti-public and illegal.     

Given this situation, which must be addressed, for now Inner City Press timely submitted the two attached photos from the CFPB's disturbingly and intentionally stripped down site. In 2018 in Wisconsin, McFarland made 206 loans to white, and only three to African Americans. This is an interim protest; the comment period(s) must be extended.  

Here are some more applications not in the FRB's H2A, requiring explanation and extension of comment periods: 

not later than December 20, 2019.  A. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (Kathryn Haney, Assistant Vice President) 1000 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30309. 1. BCI Financial Group, Inc., Miami, Florida; to merge with Executive Banking Corporation, and thereby indirectly acquire Executive National Bank, both of Miami, Florida. In connection with this proposal, Bci Financial Group, Inc.'s parent companies, Empresas Juan Yarur SpA and Banco de Credito e Inversiones S.A., both of Santiago, Chile, to indirectly acquire Executive Banking Corporation and Executive National Bank.   not later than December 20, 2019.  A. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (David L. Hubbard, Senior Manager) P.O. Box 442, St. Louis, Missouri 63166-2034. 1. Citizens Union Bancorp of Shelbyville, Inc., Shelbyville, Kentucky; to merge with Owenton Bancorp, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire Peoples Bank & Trust Company, both of Owenton, Kentucky.   

not later than January 23, 2020.  A. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (David L. Hubbard, Senior Manager) P.O. Box 442, St. Louis, Missouri 63166-20341. Comments can also be sent electronically to Comments.applications@stls.frb.org:   First Horizon National Corporation, Memphis, Tennessee; to acquire IBERIABANK Corporation and thereby indirectly acquire IBERIABANK, both of Lafayette, Louisiana.   

B. Federal Reserve Bank of New York (Ivan Hurwitz, Senior Vice President) 33 Liberty Street, New York, New York 10045-0001. . Barclays US Holdings Limited, New York, New York; a company organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands, to become a bank holding company by acquiring Barclays US LLC, also of New York, New York, and thereby indirectly acquire Barclays Bank Delaware, Wilmington, Delaware. In addition, Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC, both of London, England, to retain Barclays US Holdings Limited and thereby indirectly acquire Barclays US LLC and Barclays Bank Delaware.  

not later than January 9, 2020.  A. Federal Reserve Bank of New York (Ivan Hurwitz, Senior Vice President) 33 Liberty Street, New York, New York 10045  1. First Bancorp, San Juan, Puerto Rico; to acquire Santander BanCorp and thereby indirectly acquire Banco Santander Puerto Rico, both of San Juan, Puerto Rico. In addition, FirstBank Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, to become a bank holding company for a moment in time by acquiring Santander BanCorp and thereby indirectly acquiring Banco Santander Puerto Rico.

      In this context, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch is demanding an extension of all comment periods by the FRB, its intervention with the CFPB to restore access on the website itself to 2018 HMDA data, and on the current record the denial by the FRB of these application(s). Thank you for your prompt attention, Matthew R. Lee Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch

  Watch this site.

December 23, 2019

Protest to Flushing Bank Empire After FDIC Joins Otting Assault on CRA Amid Whitewash of Mortgage Data

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

Bronx / SDNY, Dec 16 –  With US Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting on December 12 formally moving along with the FDIC to undermine the  Community Reinvestment Act, on December 16 Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch filed a CRA protest with the FDIC to Flushing Bank's application to acquire Empire National Bank, see below.

  On December 12 in a badly-webcast FDIC meeting Director Jelena McWilliams said that where she was born there is a phrase about if you can't go to the Hill, the Hill comes to you - the reference was to Rep. Maxine Waters - the FDIC sold its credibility to Otting. And why then are the regulators like the FDIC, now with the connivance now only of the OCC but also CFPB, making it harder for the public to enforce CRA?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Kathy Kraninger issued 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data - with an interface without any racial or ethnic information unlike 2017 and every previous year, undermining the entire purpose of the HMDA law. See this page and this December 16 filing with FDIC, cc-ed to the CFPB:

December 16, 2019  Via e-mail

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Attn: John Vogel, Regional Director and Doreen R. Eberley, Jim Watkins, Robert P. Cordeiro, Scott D. Strockoz 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1200 New York, NY 10118-0110  

Re: Timely First Comment on Applications by Flushing Bank to Acquire Empire National Bank 

Dear Regional Director Vogel and others at the FDIC:  

This is a timely first comment opposing and requesting an extension of the FDIC's public comment period on the Applications by Flushing Bank to Acquire Empire National Bank.   

Flushing Bank in 2018, for race specified loans, made six times more loans to whites than to African Americans, entirely out of keeping with the demographics of its market.   

Compare the demographics of its lending to the geography: 68 loans to Queens, 35 in Manhattan, 27 in The Bronx, 35 in Manhattan, five on Staten Island and 24 in Westchester County.    

Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch would like to and has a right to submit more detailed HMDA data. But for the record, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for 2018 data has unilaterally removed the ability of the public to view HMDA data by race on its website, which the FFIEC / Federal Reserve allowed in previous years and the CFBP did even in 2017.

Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch contends that the CFPB's move is both anti-public and illegal.    

For further context, last week the FDIC opted in a party line vote to go with the OCC of ex-banker Otting which is trying to further weaken the CRA, and has already in rogue-like fashion barred the public from comment on charter conversion and even merger applications like that involving Chinatown FSB earlier this year.   

In this context, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch is demanding an extension of this comment period by the FDIC, its intervention with the CFPB to restore access on the website itself to 2018 HMDA data, a reversal of the FDIC's anti-CRA moves, and on the current record the denial by the FDIC of these application(s).  Thank you for your prompt attention, 
Matthew R. Lee
Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch

December 16, 2019

FDIC Joins Otting To Deregulate Banks As CFPB Hides Mortgage Data

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Dec 12 – With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, one of his moves this year has been to refuse to consider a timely CRA protest to People's United Bank by Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch.

 Now on December 12 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has joined Otting's assault on CRA. In a badly webcast FDIC meeting Director Jelana McWilliams said that where she was born there is a phrase about if you can't go to the Hill, the Hill comes to you - the reference was to Rep. Maxine Waters - the FDIC sold its credibility to Otting. Can the Federal Reserve be far behind?  And why then are the regulators like the OCC, now with the connivance of the CFPB, making it harder for the public to enforce CRA?

With the OCC yet to be sued for its contempt for the law, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Kathy Kraninger issued 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data - with an interface without any racial or ethnic information unlike 2017 and every previous year, undermining the entire purpose of the HMDA law. See this page and see below.

  Now with this CFPB abuse still unaddressed, including in an evasive response from CFPB this week, from Capitol Hill, this: "United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and Representative Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), member of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, today announced the introduction of the Bank Merger Review Modernization Act. The legislation would restrict harmful consolidation in the banking industry and protect consumers and the financial system from “Too Big to Fail” institutions, like those that caused the 2008 financial crisis. The upcoming merger between SunTrust Banks, Inc. (SunTrust) and BB&T Corporation (BB&T) will create the sixth-largest U.S. bank and first new Too Big to Fail bank since the financial crisis. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are original House cosponsors of the bill.  “Nearly two years ago, Chairman Powell confirmed my worst suspicions that the Fed has not declined a single merger request since before the financial crisis,” said Senator Warren. “The bill Congressman García and I are announcing today would ensure that regulators do their jobs by stopping mergers that deprive communities of the banking services they need, reward banks that cheat or discriminate against their customers, and risk another financial crisis.     “When big banks get bigger, consumers and taxpayers usually lose. We must protect our financial system by slowing down bank consolidation. This bill will help address this, taking the Fed and FDIC off autopilot and giving consumers a voice in reviewing bank mergers,” said Congressman García." This is one of the steps that is needed.

  After various attempts to get CFPB to acknowledge its outrageous move in disenfranchising grassroots groups from the data meant to benefit them, which we will leave UNdescribed for now, Inner City Press on November 7 submitted a FOIA request see below. The CFPB has acknowledged receipt, but says it has a unspecified backlog and has denied the request for expedited processing because it does not think redlined communities defending their rights and lives with the CRA is urgent.

Now on December 3 from the CFPB, more evasion with a list of downloaded and bookmarks that do not being to replace what CFPB unilaterally removed. Brenda Muñiz  Office of Public Engagement and Community Liaison  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lists downloads and a pre-formatted search not even yet available. CFPB has now whitewashed data and protected banks and bank mergers for months. This must immediately end and those responsible be named and held accountable: Until the CFPB unilaterally decided to whitewash was had previously been available as an on-website, no-download / no-Excel search could show denial rates. This was and is an arrogant move by the CFPB which disempowers grassroots groups and makes it significantly more difficult for others, including journalists, to examine mortgage discrimination. We continue to demand reversal - and the names of and reasoning used by those at CFPB who decided to do this. Watch this site.

December 9, 2019

FDIC Backsliding With Otting To Deregulate Banks Raised in DC As CFPB Hides Mortgage Data

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Dec 5 – With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, one of his moves this year has been to refuse to consider a timely CRA protest to People's United Bank by Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch.

 Now the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is sliding toward joining Otting's assault on CRA, but was questioned this week in the US Senate:

Q: the FDIC could give the smaller banks that regulates the choice of opting into this new OCC led CRA regulatory framework or continuing to be examined under the current system. That could lead to a situation where banks themselves choose to participate in the model that gives them the best grade and not the one that best measures whether their activities are effectively addressing the needs of their communities.          If adopted, do you know what percentage of FDIC regulated banks would the choice to opt into the OCC approach?         

JELENA MCWILLIAMS:  So, the -- the proposal is still being worked. One of the options we considered was the opt-out for small banks -- I'm sorry, opt-in, opting into the new regime or keeping the existing regime. The main reason for the opt-in opportunity would be to provide an ability for small banks not to have to change their reporting requirements and their -- how they go through the analysis of what qualifies for the CRA. Small banks - the number of small banks will - if they decide to opt in would depend on what threshold we pick for the cut off.         

MENENDEZ:  So you don't know yet what number because you haven't decided on the threshold?         

MCWILLIAMS:  It's not - it's not firm. We are looking at numbers and making sure...        

MENENDEZ:  But I hope that other than - we want small banks, yes, to have less response - less necessity in terms of paperwork but we don't want them to have less necessity or obligation in terms of creating a portal of opportunity under the CRA. If most FDIC-regulated banks would be able to opt in, then aren't you - if that's what happens, then aren't you simply making a political calculation that best protects the interest of the banks you're charged with regulating over those who stand to benefit from a strong CRA rule. Isn't in essence the threshold going to determine whether that's the reality or not?         

MCWILLIAMS:  No, actually it is not. The reason that I'm willing to consider a reform to the Community Reinvestment Act is because the Act has not been revisited since 1995 by the regulators and Congress. You gave us the authority to take a look at the Act and make sure it serves its intended purpose.          Currently we have digital delivery channels for banks that are not necessarily accounted for appropriately in the current assessment areas. The way the deposit taking now takes place is everything gets attributed to a branch and now it will be the digital channels - excuse me. There's a lot of deposit taking that's taking place outside of this area and we want to make sure that under the reform of the CRA, those areas where the digital banks are functioning and offering - and taking deposits and offering services are served by the CRA."  But why then are the regulators like the OCC, now with the connivance of the CFPB, making it harder for the public to enforce CRA?

December 2, 2019

TD Bank Seeks To Own 13% of Schwab After OneCoin Bragged Of TD Bank Relationship

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - The Times UK - Honduras - The Source 

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 25 – A major proposed merger in the brokerage and banking fields has been announced on the morning of November 25: Charles Schwab proposes to buy TD Ameritrade in an approximately $26-billion US all-stock deal. The deal would see Toronto-Dominion Bank, which holds approximately 43 per cent of TD Ameritrade's stock, own a roughly 13 per cent stake in the combined company.  "This transaction will deliver significant value for TD and provide us with an ownership stake in one of the most innovative and highly regarded investment firms in the U.S.," TD Bank chief executive Bharat Masrani said.

   Inner City Press has reported that crypo currency scheme OneCoin publicly represented that it had a banking relationship with TD Bank. When action was belatedly (and begrudgingly) taken, questions arise and will be raised as to what TD Bank knew, and when. Watch this site.

   As Inner City Press covered the OneCoin trial this month, a number of names of indicted co-conspirators emerged on which we are now following up.

  One of them was Amer Abdulaziz Salman. From his Phoenix Thoroughbred's, Inner City Press is informed that Dermot Farrington has left.

    As Inner City Press exclusively reported on November 6, surprise cooperating witness Konstantin Ignatov brought up Amer Abdulaziz during his testimony, live-tweeted @InnerCityPress, and see here.

  On November 24 those tweets were used without any credit in a derivative article by the Racing Post's Peter Scargill - apparently dodginess pervades this part of the industry.

  Inner City Press has been contacted from Dubai of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, from Amer Abdulaziz's native Bahrain and elsewhere by whistleblowers in the horse racing industry, with extensive information about Amer Abdulaziz's previous schemes and sudden windfall with OneCoin money.

  Abdulaziz for example was outed as not paying for three horses, with it being for uncredited reported that Fasig-Tipton had not received payment for grade I winner Crisp and the broodmares Little Bonnet and Sky Mom, who were sold for more than $1.9 million combined...

November 25, 2019

Rogue Regulator Otting of OCC Moves to Launder Predatory Loans As Valid When Made

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Nov 8 – With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, his latest move has been to move to laundering high-cost loans by calling them "valid when made." See legal analysis here.

  The FDIC is poised to follow suit; the issue is on the FDIC board meeting agenda for November 19.

Now with the OCC yet to be sued for its contempt for the law, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Kathy Kraninger has launched a no action letter process for fintech, giving assurances without any public notice or comment that activities can be undertaken with no concern about enforcement. See here.

In September Kraninger's CFPB issued 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data - with an interface without any racial or ethnic information unlike 2017 and every previous year, undermining the entire purpose of the HMDA law. See this page.

  Now after various attempts to get CFPB to acknowledge its outrageous move in disenfranchising grassroots groups from the data meant to benefit them, which we will leave UNdescribed for now, Inner City Press on November 7 submitted a FOIA request see below. The CFPB has acknowledged receipt, but says it has a unspecified backlog and has denied the request for expedited processing because it does not think redlined communities defending their rights and lives with the CRA is urgent.

"Dear Mr. Lee: This letter is to inform you that on November 8, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) received your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated November 7, 2019.  Your request sought: [a]ll records regarding the CFPB's decision / action to make the 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data only available for download (the so-called data filter) rather then searchable and viewable in reports on the CFPB website as was the case for the 2017 data. Please be advised that the CFPB FOIA Office has a backlog of pending FOIA requests.  We are diligently working to process each request in the order in which it was received.  Your patience is greatly appreciated.  The CFPB FOIA regulations found at 12 C.F.R. Part 1070 specifically define “representative of the news media” as “any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience.”  Based on the information contained in your request, the CFPB has granted your request to be considered a “representative of the news media"... Your request for expedited processing is Denied because you failed to demonstrate a particular urgency to inform the public about the government activity involved in the request beyond the public’s right to know about government activity generally." Really?

The request: "Dear CFPB Chief FOIA Officer:  Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, I request from the CFPB any and all records as that term is defined in FOIA regarding the CFPB's decision / action to make the 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data only available for download (the so-called data filter) rather then searchable and viewable in reports on the CFPB website as was the case for the 2017 data.

     To assist you in rapidly providing the requested information - this is a request for expedited treatment given that the withholding in accessible format of the 2018 data each day hinders low income community groups from commenting on bank mergers, the only enforcement mechanism of the Community Reinvestment Act to prevent bank redlining - be aware that the issue has been raised to CFPB staff in a number of conference calls including most recently to, inter alia  Brenda Muniz, Tim Lambert [some names redacted in this format.]

  These CFPB staffers were directly asked by the undersigned who at CFPB made the decision to curtail availability of HMDA data in simple format on the website. Knowing which government agency official made such a decision is a sine qua non of FOIA: the information should be provided an expedite basis, as well as all related documents." Watch this site.

November 18, 2019

Deutsche Bank RMBS Fraud Leads To $500,000 Civil Penalty Against Former Exec In EDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Q&A, HK here

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, Nov 14 –  Deutsche Bank, which profited as trustee from predatory mortgage lending, has also been raided for money laundering, see below. In the SDNY trial OneCoin trial Inner City Press has been covering daily since November 4, here, Deutsche Bank keeps coming up in connection with money laundering for Ruja Ignatova. Now on November 14 from across the East River in Brooklyn, this: "The United States has reached agreement with Paul Mangione, a former Deutsche Bank executive, to settle a civil action filed in September 2017 in which the United States sought civil penalties for Mangione’s conduct in connection with Deutsche Bank’s marketing and sale of two residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) in 2007. The agreement provides for payment of $500,000 in civil penalties in exchange for dismissal of the complaint. Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the settlement. “This Office’s settlement with a bank executive in connection with RMBS fraud reflects our commitment to holding individuals accountable for their role in corporate fraud,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. Mr. Donoghue thanked the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of the Inspector General for its assistance in conducting the investigation in this matter. The complaint in the action, United States v. Paul Mangione, alleged that Mangione, a former Managing Director and head of subprime trading at Deutsche Bank, engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in two Deutsche Bank RMBS, ACE 2007-HE4 and ACE 2007-HE5, by misrepresenting the characteristics of the loans backing the two securities and misleading potential investors about the loan origination practices of Deutsche Bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary, DB Home Lending LLC (f/k/a Chapel Funding, LLC), which originated a number of the loans backing the two RMBS. The complaint stated claims for relief under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), based on mail fraud and wire fraud."

   We'll have more on this

November 11, 2019

CFPB Takes 2017 Mortgage Data Down Days After 2018 Complaint and FOIA by Inner City Press

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Nov 9 – The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, days after complaints about withholding 2018 mortgage data by race and a FOIA request from Inner City Press responded by taking the 2017 data offline. Photo here. This bureaucratic retaliation and/or criminal negligence should be the subject of Congressional hearings and then firings.

  Eric Blankenstein while working at the increasingly rogue Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was kept on despite openly racist blog posts. (The CFPB is now withholding from impacted comments the 2018 mortgage lending data by race, see below). Now Blackenstein has been promoted by HUD to VP at GinnieMae. This is a pattern.

With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, his latest move has been to refuse to consider a timely CRA protest to People's United Bank by Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch.

Now with the OCC yet to be sued for its contempt for the law, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Kathy Kraninger has launched a no action letter process for fintech, giving assurances without any public notice or comment that activities can be undertaken with no concern about enforcement. See here.

In September Kraninger's CFPB issued 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data - with an interface without any racial or ethnic information unlike 2017 and every previous year, undermining the entire purpose of the HMDA law. See this page.

  Now after various attempts to get CFPB to acknowledge its outrageous move in disenfranchising grassroots groups from the data meant to benefit them, which we will leave UNdescribed for now, Inner City Press on November 7 submitted a FOIA request see below. The CFPB has acknowledged receipt, but says it has a unspecified backlog and has denied the request for expedited processing because it does not think redlined communities defending their rights and lives with the CRA is urgent.

"Dear Mr. Lee: This letter is to inform you that on November 8, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) received your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated November 7, 2019.  Your request sought: [a]ll records regarding the CFPB's decision / action to make the 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data only available for download (the so-called data filter) rather then searchable and viewable in reports on the CFPB website as was the case for the 2017 data. Please be advised that the CFPB FOIA Office has a backlog of pending FOIA requests.  We are diligently working to process each request in the order in which it was received.  Your patience is greatly appreciated.  The CFPB FOIA regulations found at 12 C.F.R. Part 1070 specifically define “representative of the news media” as “any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience.”  Based on the information contained in your request, the CFPB has granted your request to be considered a “representative of the news media"... Your request for expedited processing is Denied because you failed to demonstrate a particular urgency to inform the public about the government activity involved in the request beyond the public’s right to know about government activity generally." Really?

The request: "Dear CFPB Chief FOIA Officer:  Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, I request from the CFPB any and all records as that term is defined in FOIA regarding the CFPB's decision / action to make the 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data only available for download (the so-called data filter) rather then searchable and viewable in reports on the CFPB website as was the case for the 2017 data.

     To assist you in rapidly providing the requested information - this is a request for expedited treatment given that the withholding in accessible format of the 2018 data each day hinders low income community groups from commenting on bank mergers, the only enforcement mechanism of the Community Reinvestment Act to prevent bank redlining - be aware that the issue has been raised to CFPB staff in a number of conference calls including most recently to, inter alia  Brenda Muniz, Tim Lambert [some names redacted in this format.]

  These CFPB staffers were directly asked by the undersigned who at CFPB made the decision to curtail availability of HMDA data in simple format on the website. Knowing which government agency official made such a decision is a sine qua non of FOIA: the information should be provided an expedite basis, as well as all related documents." Watch this site.

November 4, 2019