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.

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

  While the CFPB continues to withhold basic mortgage lending data, we note that a spokesperson for disparate LendingClub is quoted: “We are completely committed to fair lending practices. Researchers at the Philadelphia Fed have analyzed our data and concluded that we’re lending in more areas where banks are closing their branches, we’re improving pricing and the quality of credit decisioning, and increasing financial inclusion.”  Wait - so now the Federal Reserve has handing out fair lending cover up fig leafs to disparate fintechs?

October 28, 2019

As Rogue Regulator Otting Tries To Kill CRA His Staff Tries To Coopt #TreasureCRA No Answers

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Oct 24 – With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, on August 21 he engaged in a cynical tour of Jamaica, Queens with Rep. Gregory Meeks while his OCC was also refusing to consider a CRA protest filed less than 30 days after People's Bank's application was filed and that, later, available. See below.

 On October 24, amid a tweet-storm from NCRC grassroots groups to #TreasureCRA, one of Otting's staffers Bryan Hubbard tried to re-position his boss as an imposter supporter of CRA, here. Inner City Press asked online how this is consistent with Otting refusing to update the OCC's online weekly bulletin of applications subject to CRA comment, and imposing FOIA fees to get the merger applications to comment on, here. No answer for a while, then one that did not answer on FOIA. Otting is a one-way rogue.

October 21, 2019

CFPB Whitewashes 2018 Home Mortgage Data Despite NYAG Opposing Disclosure Tables Gone

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Oct 19 – 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.

Last month 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 on October 19 Inner City Press reports on push-back from New York, beyond the obvious need to make the disclosure tables available online again, this: "Dear Director Kraninger: The New York State Attorney General (“NYAG”) submits the following comments on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (the “CFPB”) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the efficacy of certain data points and coverage of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”) (Docket No. CFPB-2019-0020/RIN 3170-AA97) (“Advance Notice”). HMDA is an important tool in ending the scourge of mortgage lending discrimination that has long plagued our country. Designed to provide public detailed mortgage lending data, HMDA ensures that the public and state regulators have the means necessary to enforce federal and state fair lending laws and to guarantee that the lending needs of their communities are being met. In 2010, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress amended HMDA to make certain that our economy would never again be brought down by predatory mortgage lending. Congress statutorily added more required data fields and then gave the CFPB the authority to add additional fields to achieve the objective of greater transparency. In 2015, after five years of research, outreach and various notice and comment periods, the CFPB added 14 additional data points and revised certain others (“2015 HMDA Amendments”). The 2015 HMDA Amendments went into effect on January 1, 2018 and the 2018 HMDA data is the first data set that contains these new fields. Most of these new fields request data that mortgage lenders already collect for the purpose of underwriting and for selling these loans to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or other investors.  The CFPB is now asking whether it should reverse course and reduce the transparency provided by its current HMDA reporting requirements. The answer is a resounding no. Reducing HMDA reporting requirements would undermine the ability of local public officials to investigate unfair and discriminatory mortgage lending practices, such as the predatory practices that led to the housing market crash in 2008. "

On October 12 Inner City Press reported a flood of identical comments *supporting* Kraninger and the CFPB like this one on HMDA: "Comment Submitted by Anonymous Sonnenburg, I appreciate the CFPB's recent willingness to reconsider and revise its prior rulemakings." This while CFPB is still withhold the basis race and ethic information from display on its website, raw data download only unlike previous years. This is an outrage - and its having impacts. The Federal Reserve, citing the CFPB, rubber stamped Hancock Whitney - MidSouth Bank, and is prepared to close its comment periods on Simmons - Landrum and other proposed mergers while the CFPB on September 7 is still saying this: "We will retire HMDA Explorer and its API Our tool for exploring HMDA data—and the Public Data Platform API that powers it—will be shut down in the coming months. We will post additional details as they become available.  The 2018 HMDA data include a number of new data points and, as a result, are not compatible with the multi-year functionality provided by the Public Data Platform.    The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) will publish a query tool for the 2018 data in the coming months, which will be available at ffiec.cfpb.gov.  After the new query tool becomes available, the Bureau will retire the current HMDA Explorer tool and the Public Data Platform API  that powers it."  In the coming months? The CFPB has months to do this. They are intentionally making it more difficult for the public to access basic fair lending information.

 This is confirmed in a blithe "request for comments" that includes "the HMDA Platform allows users to produce and export custom data sets rather than relying on numerous static reports that few previously accessed. To enable external software developers to access some of the key services offered by the HMDA Platform, the Bureau publishes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that can be integrated into external websites, analytical tools, and industry software. The Bureau has innovated in other areas as well."

 Inner City Press has commented:   Dear Director Kraninger and others at CFPB:     On behalf of Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch, which has reviewed and publicized HMDA data for years, this is a comment both on Docket No. CFPB–2019– 0048 and specifically demanding that CFPB's troubling whitewash of the 2018 HMDA data, refusing to make it simply available with race and ethnicity information, be reversed and the data made available as below.    Your proposal (mis) states that "tthe HMDA Platform allows users to produce and export custom data sets rather than relying on numerous static reports that few previously accessed.      That is false, and is also an unacceptable pretext to make race and ethnicity HMDA data less available.  As Inner City Press has previously written to CFPB staff, so far without action: Go to  https://ffiec.cfpb.gov/data-publication/disclosure-reports   Compare disclosure for 2017 (with race and ethnicity)  https://ffiec.cfpb.gov/data-publication/disclosure-reports/2017      to 2018 - no race or ethnicity.     CFPB must make this basic information available, in simple format that can be used by grassroots groups. Already time is going by in which the 2018 data is ostensibly available but grassroots groups cannot access race and ethnicity information as they did before, which is among the goals of HMDA data.     Please explain when and where this information will be made available again.   Matthew Lee, Esq., Executive Director Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch." Watch this site.

October 14, 2019

CFPB Whitewashes 2018 Home Mortgage Data Now Slew of Identical Letters Appreciating It

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Oct 12 – 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. N

Last month 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 on October 12 Inner City Press can report a flood of identical comments *supporting* Kraninger and the CFPB like this one on HMDA: "Comment Submitted by Anonymous Sonnenburg, I appreciate the CFPB's recent willingness to reconsider and revise its prior rulemakings." This while CFPB is still withhold the basis race and ethic information from display on its website, raw data download only unlike previous years. This is an outrage - and its having impacts. The Federal Reserve, citing the CFPB, rubber stamped Hancock Whitney - MidSouth Bank, and is prepared to close its comment periods on Simmons - Landrum and other proposed mergers while the CFPB on September 7 is still saying this: "We will retire HMDA Explorer and its API Our tool for exploring HMDA data—and the Public Data Platform API that powers it—will be shut down in the coming months. We will post additional details as they become available.  The 2018 HMDA data include a number of new data points and, as a result, are not compatible with the multi-year functionality provided by the Public Data Platform.    The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) will publish a query tool for the 2018 data in the coming months, which will be available at ffiec.cfpb.gov.  After the new query tool becomes available, the Bureau will retire the current HMDA Explorer tool and the Public Data Platform API  that powers it."  In the coming months? The CFPB has months to do this. They are intentionally making it more difficult for the public to access basic fair lending information.

October 7, 2019

Rogue Regulator Otting Withholds Merger Notices Since August 17 So All Comment Periods Close

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Oct 5 – With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, on August 21 he engaged in a cynical tour of Jamaica, Queens with Rep. Gregory Meeks while his OCC was also refusing to consider a CRA protest filed less than 30 days after People's Bank's application was filed and that, later, available. See below.

  Now on October 5, 2019, on Otting's OCC website the most recently Weekly Bulletin of pending mergers, each with a 30 day comment periods is dated August 17. That is to say, all of the merger of which Otting's OCC is providing public have comment period which are closed. Those with open comment periods are not disclosed. This is criminal.

  On September 3, Otting rang up another death knell to accountability and judicial review, getting the CSBS' lawsuit about his sure to be ghoulish fintech charter dismissed as not ripe. A D.C. federal judge has again shot down a lawsuit that seeks to block the federal government from granting specialized national bank charters to fintech firms, saying the Conference of State Bank Supervisors is still jumping the gun by suing over a charter that no one has even applied for.  In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich dismissed because the "claims remain unripe.” This is four months after U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York allowed the New York Department of Financial Services to proceed with its challenge to the fintech charter.  In her ruling on Tuesday, Judge Friedrich said she “respectfully” disagrees with Judge Marrero’s decision to the extent it conflicts with either of her dismissal decisions in the CSBS cases.  Inner City Press goes with the SDNY. In DC the OCC is represented in-house by Jonathan V. Gould, Bao Nguyen, Gregory F. Taylor, Hannah Hicks, Peter C. Koch, Ashley W. Walker, Gabriel A. Hindin and Michael K. Morelli -- some of these are involved in trying to exempt the OCC from FOIA by denying fee waivers, even for merger applications. Otting is destroying the OCC, and wants to destroy the CRA. 

  Mere hours after refusing to consider an actual CRA comment, Otting issued this: "Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting today participated in a tour of New York neighborhoods to see firsthand the success of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) activity and discuss how CRA regulations can promote more lending, investment, and services, where they are needed most.  'Here in New York, we saw great examples of community and bank partnerships to conduct CRA activity that helps meet important needs of underserved neighborhoods,' Comptroller Otting said following the tour. 'We also discussed challenges communities, advocates, and bankers face in lending, investing, and providing services that can be addressed in part by modernizing CRA regulations.'" This is fraud.

September 30, 2019

CFPB Whitewashes 2018 Home Mortgage Data Calling It Static Report And Excluding Public With Tech Sprints

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Sept 28 – 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. This is a sandbox like Saudi Arabia, which killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi and now hired Instagram "micro-influencers," like the UN's Antonio Guterres, to whitewash its image.

Last month 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. This is an outrage - and its having impacts. The Federal Reserve, citing the CFPB, rubber stamped Hancock Whitney - MidSouth Bank, and is prepared to close its comment periods on Simmons - Landrum and other proposed mergers while the CFPB on September 7 is still saying this: "We will retire HMDA Explorer and its API Our tool for exploring HMDA data—and the Public Data Platform API that powers it—will be shut down in the coming months. We will post additional details as they become available.  The 2018 HMDA data include a number of new data points and, as a result, are not compatible with the multi-year functionality provided by the Public Data Platform.    The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) will publish a query tool for the 2018 data in the coming months, which will be available at ffiec.cfpb.gov.  After the new query tool becomes available, the Bureau will retire the current HMDA Explorer tool and the Public Data Platform API  that powers it."  In the coming months? The CFPB has months to do this. They are intentionally making it more difficult for the public to access basic fair lending information.

 This is confirmed in a blithe "request for comments" that includes "the HMDA Platform allows users to produce and export custom data sets rather than relying on numerous static reports that few previously accessed. To enable external software developers to access some of the key services offered by the HMDA Platform, the Bureau publishes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that can be integrated into external websites, analytical tools, and industry software. The Bureau has innovated in other areas as well."

 Inner City Press has commented:   Dear Director Kraninger and others at CFPB:     On behalf of Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch, which has reviewed and publicized HMDA data for years, this is a comment both on Docket No. CFPB–2019– 0048 and specifically demanding that CFPB's troubling whitewash of the 2018 HMDA data, refusing to make it simply available with race and ethnicity information, be reversed and the data made available as below.    Your proposal (mis) states that "tthe HMDA Platform allows users to produce and export custom data sets rather than relying on numerous static reports that few previously accessed.      That is false, and is also an unacceptable pretext to make race and ethnicity HMDA data less available.  As Inner City Press has previously written to CFPB staff, so far without action: Go to  https://ffiec.cfpb.gov/data-publication/disclosure-reports   Compare disclosure for 2017 (with race and ethnicity)  https://ffiec.cfpb.gov/data-publication/disclosure-reports/2017      to 2018 - no race or ethnicity.     CFPB must make this basic information available, in simple format that can be used by grassroots groups. Already time is going by in which the 2018 data is ostensibly available but grassroots groups cannot access race and ethnicity information as they did before, which is among the goals of HMDA data.     Please explain when and where this information will be made available again.   Matthew Lee, Esq., Executive Director Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch." Watch this site.

September 23, 2019

CFPB Brags About Complaint Database While Whitewashing 2018 Home Mortgage Data

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Sept 18 – 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. This is a sandbox like Saudi Arabia, which killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi and now hired Instagram "micro-influencers," like the UN's Antonio Guterres, to whitewash its image.

Earlier in the month 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. This is an outrage - and its having impacts, see below.

  Meanwhile the CFPB blithely brags about transparency in other areas, while destroying decades of accessibility of HMDA data: "Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will continue the publication of consumer complaints, data fields and narrative descriptions through the Bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database while making several enhancements to the information available to users of the database. The enhancements include: modified disclaimers to provide better context to the published data; integrating financial information and resources into the complaint process to help address questions and better inform consumers before they submit a complaint; and information to assist consumers who wish to contact the financial company to get answers to their specific questions. Additionally, the Bureau will work to provide enhanced features for the database that include dynamic visualization tools on recent complaint data.  “Since its inception, the Consumer Complaint Database has not been without controversy. When the Bureau asked for feedback in 2018, we received nearly 26,000 comments from a wide array of stakeholders including government officials, consumer groups, companies, academics, and individual consumers. After carefully examining and considering all stakeholder and public input, we are announcing the continued publication of complaints with enhanced data and context that will benefit consumers and users of the database while addressing many of the concerns raised,” said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. “The continued publication of the database, along with the enhancements, empowers consumers and informs the public.." Yeah, informs the public - NOT their priority, it seems.

September 16, 2019

CFPB Launches Saudi Like Sandbox for Deregulation After Whitewashing 2018 Home Mortgage Data

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Sept 11 – 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. This is a sandbox like Saudi Arabia, which killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi and now hired Instagram "micro-influencers," like the UN's Antonio Guterres, to whitewash its image.

Earlier in the month 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. This is an outrage - and its having impacts. The Federal Reserve, citing the CFPB, rubber stamped Hancock Whitney - MidSouth Bank, and is prepared to close its comment periods on Simmons - Landrum and other proposed mergers while the CFPB on September 7 is still saying this: "We will retire HMDA Explorer and its API Our tool for exploring HMDA data—and the Public Data Platform API that powers it—will be shut down in the coming months. We will post additional details as they become available.  The 2018 HMDA data include a number of new data points and, as a result, are not compatible with the multi-year functionality provided by the Public Data Platform.    The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) will publish a query tool for the 2018 data in the coming months, which will be available at ffiec.cfpb.gov.  After the new query tool becomes available, the Bureau will retire the current HMDA Explorer tool and the Public Data Platform API  that powers it."  In the coming months? The CFPB has months to do this. They are intentionally making it more difficult for the public to access basic fair lending information. We'll have more on this.

September 9, 2019

Amid Otting Rogue Show OCC Gets DC Court To Shoot Down CSBS Fintech Suit Using Anti FOIA Lawyers

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Sept 4 – With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, on August 21 he engaged in a cynical tour of Jamaica, Queens with Rep. Gregory Meeks while his OCC was also refusing to consider a CRA protest filed less than 30 days after People's Bank's application was filed and that, later, available. See below.

  On September 3, Otting rang up another death knell to accountability and judicial review, getting the CSBS' lawsuit about his sure to be ghoulish fintech charter dismissed as not ripe. A D.C. federal judge has again shot down a lawsuit that seeks to block the federal government from granting specialized national bank charters to fintech firms, saying the Conference of State Bank Supervisors is still jumping the gun by suing over a charter that no one has even applied for.  In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich dismissed because the "claims remain unripe.” This is four months after U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York allowed the New York Department of Financial Services to proceed with its challenge to the fintech charter.  In her ruling on Tuesday, Judge Friedrich said she “respectfully” disagrees with Judge Marrero’s decision to the extent it conflicts with either of her dismissal decisions in the CSBS cases.  Inner City Press goes with the SDNY. In DC the OCC is represented in-house by Jonathan V. Gould, Bao Nguyen, Gregory F. Taylor, Hannah Hicks, Peter C. Koch, Ashley W. Walker, Gabriel A. Hindin and Michael K. Morelli -- some of these are involved in trying to exempt the OCC from FOIA by denying fee waivers, even for merger applications. Otting is destroying the OCC, and wants to destroy the CRA.

September 2, 2019

CFPB Puts Out 2018 Home Mortgage Data With No Racial or Ethnic Info Lawless Whitewash

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, June 3 – 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 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. This is an outrage, on which Inner City Press will have more.

 Previously CFPB issued a rule relieving payday lenders of the duty to comply with the ability-to-repay standard for the CFPB’s short term lending rule of November 2017.

  Here's how the CFPB breezily put it: "The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is issuing this final rule to delay the August 19, 2019 compliance date for the mandatory underwriting provisions of the regulation promulgated by the Bureau in November 2017 governing Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans (2017 Final Rule or Rule). Compliance with these provisions of the Rule is delayed by 15 months, to November 19, 2020." Whats 15 months among friends?

August 26, 2019

Amid Otting Rogue Show in NYC His OCC Protects People's United Bid For United Bank Refusing Timely Comment

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, August 21 – With Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving to undermine the US Community Reinvestment Act, on August 21 he engaged in a cynical tour of Jamaica, Queens with Rep. Gregory Meeks while his OCC was also refusing to c