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.

August 3, 2020

Federal Reserve Rubber Stamps Varo Into Banking On Delegated Basis As Denies FOIAs

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

South Bronx, July 28–  How corrupt has the Federal Reserve become using the COVID-19 pandemic as ground cover? Well, despite rules that substantively challenged applications can only be approved by the Board of Governors in DC, on July 28 the Fed rubber stamped on a delegated basis fintech Varo's application to form a bank holding company. It is an unprecedented now low - but happens while the Federal Reserve withholds under FOIA all information about the impact of COVID-19 on the application by Brazil-based Banco Bradesco. Something has gone dreadfully wrong on C St.

  Here's the Fed's - Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's - July 28 letter, sent to Inner City Press: "July 28, 2020 Via Electronic Mail Mr. Colin Walsh Varo Money, Inc. 222 Kearny Street, 9th Floor San Francisco, California 94108 RE: Varo Money, Inc., San Francisco, California (“Bancorp”), to become a bank holding company (“BHC”) through the acquisition of 100 percent of the voting shares of Varo Bank, N.A. (In Organization), Draper, Utah, pursuant to Section 3(a)(1) of the Bank Holding Company Act (“BHC Act”) Dear Mr. Walsh: The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (“Reserve Bank”), acting under authority delegated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Board”), and having considered the relevant statutory factors, hereby approves the subject application. In consideration of this filing, reliance was placed upon all the representations and the commitments made by or on behalf of Bancorp. No significant changes in the transaction should be made prior to consummation without our approval. Approval of the application is subject to the Board’s authority to require reports by and make inspections and examinations of BHCs and their subsidiaries, and to require such modification or termination of activities of a holding company or any of its subsidiaries as the Board finds necessary to ensure compliance with the BHC Act. Approval of the application is also subject to receipt of all other required regulatory approvals, non-objections, or consents with this transaction. The proposed transaction may be consummated upon approval. 1 Please notify the undersigned in writing when the transaction is consummated."

  Corrupt.

July 27, 2020

From Coinbase Brooks Into OCC With List of Conflicts Avant Aventas and Some of Citibank

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

UN GATE / SDNY COURT, July 22 – Acting U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, as Coinbase’s chief legal officer,  was paid $1.4 million in salary -- separate from the stock options -- in the year and a half he spent with company, which had weighed seeking a charter through the OCC before making other moves to access the banking system."

  Inner City Press asked - and then requested under FOIA - what are the "other tech firms" as to which Brooks is acknowledging a conflict.

   The OCC wrote to Inner City Press, faux apologizing for withholding information it has requested about Otting until after he had left the agency. Inner City Press immediately wrote back requesting a copy of Brooks' ethics letter and list of companies as to which even he acknowledges a conflict of interest.

  On June 18, that simple request was denied and so a FOIA request was filed, see below.

  And now more than a month later on July 22 the OCC has provide to Inner City Press under FOIA a copy of the ethics memo that Brooks is recused on: Amazon (minus AWS), Avant, Aventas, Merrill Lynch, CoinBase, EarnUp, Spring Labs, TextIQ - and Citibank N.A. residential mortgage business." We'll have more on this.

July 20, 2020

SoFi Bid For Bank Charter From Pro FinTech Comptroller Brooks Is Opposed By Fair Finance Watch

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

SOUTH BRONX / SDNY, July 13 –   In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and with a fintech and crypto-currency proponent installed as Acting Comptroller, SoFi and its controller SoftBank are seeking to get a U.S. bank charter. The WSJ and others have reported the bid, but it is not yet on the OCC's website (which often lags behind such that public comment periods end before notice is given). 

 Meanwhile Inner City Press' requests under the Freedom of Information Act into Acting Comproller Brian P. Brooks' conflicts of interest in the fintech and crypto-currency world have yet to be answers.  

And so on July 13 Fair Finance Watch filed with the OCC, including this: "July 13, 2020
 Office of the Comptroller of the Currency  DC Comptroller Brooks and Mr. Lybarger, Deputy Comptroller for Licensing  & Northeastern District Office 
 Re: Timely First Comment on SoFi's reported application to the OCC to get into banking 

Dear Mr. Lybarger, Ms. Cummings and others in the OCC:  This is a timely first comment opposing and requesting an extension of the required OCC's public comment period on reported proposal by SoFi to get a national bank charter.  

    This is a major proposal, by a fintech in which SoftBank has a large stake. Yet, it is not yet on the OCC's website, where as of July 13 the most recent Weekly Bulletin cuts on on July 4. The only charter application listed as open for comment is Monzo Bank; the New Bank application link does not work. So, any comment period will have be be extended. This is a request for the complete application, all portions that the OCC after review does not find withholdable under FOIA. 

     Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch opposed SoFi's previous, suspended attempt to get into banking. Since then the questions have only grown.  

    For now, we note that Inner City Press asked the OCC's FOIA unit for a copy of Comptroller Brooks' conflict of interest list with fintechs but has yet to receive it. Pending receipt, we ask that Acting Comptroller Brooks be recused from this application and that you confirm this in writing.

      As to SoftBank, the dispute regarding another of its holdings, WeWork, portends the type of problems that regulators like the OCC are directed to keep out of, not invite into, the banking system.

     For the above reasons, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, the comment period should not yet start or should extended, until in person public hearings can be held, and Comptroller Brooks' should be recused pending/and his conflict of interest list should be released." Watch this site. 

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July 13, 2020

Epstein Deals of Deutsche Bank Trigger $150M NYS Fine As UN Maxwell Deals UNexplained

By Matthew Russell Lee Patreon Periscope Song
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 7 – After the death of Jeffrey Epstein in the MCC prison, on July 2 Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss announced and unsealed in indictment of Maxwell on charges including sex trafficking and perjury.

   Inner City Press went to her press conference at the US Attorney's Office and asked, Doesn't charging Maxwell with perjury undercut any ability to use testimony from her against other, bigger wrong-doers? Periscope here at 23:07.

  Strauss replied that it is not impossible to use a perjurer's testimony. But how often does it work?

  Now on July 7 from NYS Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell, this: "Deutsche Bank AG, its New York branch, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company America (collectively “Deutsche Bank” or the “Bank”) have agreed to pay $150 million in penalties as part of a Consent Order entered into with the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS” or the “Department”) for significant compliance failures in connection with the Bank’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and correspondent banking relationships with Danske Bank Estonia (“Danske Estonia”) and FBME Bank (“FBME”).    This agreement marks the first enforcement action by a regulator against a financial institution for dealings with Jeffrey Epstein.   “Banks are the first line of defense with respect to preventing the facilitation of crime through the financial system, and it is fundamental that banks tailor the monitoring of their customers’ activity based upon the types of risk that are posed by a particular customer,” Superintendent Lacewell said. “In each of the cases that are being resolved today, Deutsche Bank failed to adequately monitor the activity of customers that the Bank itself deemed to be high risk. In the case of Jeffrey Epstein in particular, despite knowing Mr. Epstein’s terrible criminal history, the Bank inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions.”   With respect to the case of Jeffrey Epstein, the Bank failed to properly monitor account activity conducted on behalf of the registered sex offender despite ample information that was publicly available concerning the circumstances surrounding Mr. Epstein’s earlier criminal misconduct. The result was that the Bank processed hundreds of transactions totaling millions of dollars that, at the very least, should have prompted additional scrutiny in light of Mr. Epstein’s history, including:   payments to individuals who were publicly alleged to have been Mr. Epstein’s co-conspirators in sexually abusing young women;   settlement payments totaling over $7 million, as well as dozens of payments to law firms totaling over $6 million for what appear to have been the legal expenses of Mr. Epstein and his co-conspirators;  payments to Russian models, payments for women’s school tuition, hotel and rent expenses, and (consistent with public allegations of prior wrongdoing) payments directly to numerous women with Eastern European surnames; and  periodic suspicious cash withdrawals — in total, more than $800,000 over approximately four years.  This substantive failure was compounded by a series of procedural failures, mistakes, and sloppiness in how the Bank managed and oversaw the Epstein accounts. For example, certain conditions imposed upon the Epstein accounts by a Bank reputational risk committee — conditions that, if followed, might have detected and prevented many subsequent suspicious transactions — (a) were not transmitted to the majority of the account relationship team; and (b) were misinterpreted by a compliance officer in a way that resulted in very little actual change in how the monitoring of the accounts occurred. Throughout the relationship, very few problematic transactions were ever questioned, and even when they were, they were usually cleared without satisfactory explanation." We'll have more on this.

   In the July 3 media coverage of Epstein's procurer Ghislaine Maxwell, media all of the world used a video and stills from it of Maxwell speaking in front of a blue curtain, like here.

 What they did not mention is something Inner City Press has been asking the UN about, as under UNSG Antonio Guterres with his own sexual exploitation issues (exclusive video and audio) it got roughed up and banned from the UN: Ghislaine Maxwell had a ghoulish United Nations press conference, under the banner of the "Terramar Project," here.

  On July 5, after some crowd-sourcing, Inner City Press reported on another Ghislaine Maxwell use of the United Nations, facilitated by Italy's Permanent Representative to the UN, UN official Nikhil Seth and Amir Dossal, who also let into the UN and in one case took money from convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng, and Patrick Ho of CEFC China Energy, also linked to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

  At the Ghislaine Maxwell UN event, the UN Deputy Secretary General was directly involved.

List of (some of) the participants on Patreon here.

Antonio Guterres claims he has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation, but covers it up and even participate in it. He should be forced to resign - and/or have immunity waived.

  Terramar has been dissolved, even though Maxwell's former fundraiser / director of development Brian Yurasits still lists the URL on his (protected) Twitter profile, also here.

  But now Inner City Press has begun to inquire into Ghislaine Maxwell's other United Nations connections, starting with this photograph of another day's (or at least another outfit's) presentation in the UN, here. While co-conspirator Antonio Guterres has had Inner City Press banned from any entry into the UN for two years and a day, this appears to be in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) chamber. We'll have more on this, and on Epstein and the UN. Watch this site.

  The case is US v. Maxwell, 20-cr-330 (Nathan).

July 6, 2020

On Manafort Lender Stephen Calk Trial Reset For Dec 1 Witness List Has Gates and Kushner

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 28 – Steven M. Calk of FDIC-regulated Federal Savings Bank was presented and arraigned on May 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for financial institution bribery for corruptly using his position with FSB to issue $16 million in high-risk loans to Paul Manafort in a bid to obtain a senior position with the Trump administration, namely Undersecretary of the Army.

  On April 23 SDNY Judge Lorna G. Schofield held an oral argument, by telephone with Calk himself on the line from Chicago. Inner City Press covered it, below.

 On July 2, Judge Schofield held a proceeding. Inner City Press live tweeted it:

Assistant US Attorney Paul Monteleoni rattled off COVID bad news, to request trial later in 2021. He says Broadway is closed through 2020, indoor dining pushed back, possible outbreak in Rockland County.

AUSA Monteleoni floats the idea of a witness having to go into 2 week quarantine. Notes that incarcerated defendants will get first trials. US Attorney does not want December 2020.

Judge Schofield: This is complex. There are 26 active judges, and senior judges, many trials waiting. So, I think what I'll do at the moment is set a December trial date with the understanding that we all need to talk with each other. We'll take the earliest date. I'll set it for Tuesday, December 1. Take it with a grain of salt. I won't schedule a conference now. Let's move on to the motions that are at issue. The motions to compel...

AUSA: They've asked us for a document and we're working on it.

 Judge Schofield: Let's move on to the issue of sanctions.

Calk's lawyer: Government wrote to you in August, for six weeks to give documents from the Special Counsel's office. They took longer; we did not complain. But in March we learned of millions of more pages. We only got the documents in April - but the government learned about them in December. We felt this was unfair, given the government an unfair tactical advantage for trial.

 Calk's lawyer: "The government has put on its witness list Mr. Manafort, Gates and Kushner."

Judge Schofield: The defendant's motion for sanctions for US discovery violations is denied. Court's examine the culpability and prejudice to the defendant. Miranda, 2d Cir, 1975. Here, the government was untimely, the argument goes. But it was not intentional.

Inner City Press will stay on this.

June 29, 2020

Once Otting Out of OCC To Black Knight His Anti CRA Rule Challenged NDCA Court

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

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, June 25 – On May 29 Joseph Otting had his last day as US Comptroller of the Currency, a position he has misused to attack the Community Reinvestment Act he came to despise as head of OneWest Bank.

   A week later Ottting cashed out, taking a paying position on the board of directors of Black Knight, described as a fintech.
 
  But if bank regulators have a cooling off period, how can the just former Comptroller joint a fintech, an industry he and his successor worked and work to get into the national banking world?

 Now Otting's handiwork, undermining the CRA, is itself under attack, in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by NCRC and CRC; the complaint cites "During the Senate hearings on the CRA, Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin stated: By redlining let me make it clear what I am talking about. I am talking about the fact that banks and savings and loans will take their deposits from a community and instead of reinvesting them in that community, they will actually or figuratively draw a red line on a map around the areas of their city, sometimes in the inner city, sometimes in the older neighborhoods, sometimes ethnic and sometimes black, but often encompassing a great area of their neighborhood."

  As to Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, Bloomberg reported that "[a]s Coinbase’s chief legal officer, Brooks was paid $1.4 million in salary -- separate from the stock options -- in the year and a half he spent with company, which had weighed seeking a charter through the OCC before making other moves to access the banking system... He still has stock and bond holdings between $1 million and $2.2 million. Because he’s acting comptroller -- not yet nominated by President Donald Trump to seek Senate confirmation -- he’s not required to take the ethics pledge that would limit his ability to work in lobbying after he leaves the job, according to an OCC spokesman. However, Brooks has submitted a letter through the agency’s ethics office outlining companies he’ll steer clear of because of potential conflicts of interest, including Amazon.com Inc., Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit, Coinbase and a number of other tech firms he’s worked with....  Otting, who left the job last month, wasn’t out of work long. He was tapped this week to join the board of Black Knight Inc., which provides software for the mortgage industry." Bloomberg did not delve into that conflict of interest. And what are the "other tech firms" as to which Brooks is acknowledging a conflict?

   The OCC wrote to Inner City Press, faux apologizing for withholding information it has requested about Otting until after he had left the agency. Inner City Press immediately wrote back requesting a copy of Brooks' ethics letter and list of companies as to which even he acknowledges a conflict of interest. So far, nothing. But we note, for example, that he was on the board of Avant. What else?

   Amid all this, Fair Finance Watch and Inner City Press / Community on the Move have launched a new project. And so far, Brooks' national banks have been among the worst. Watch this site.

June 22, 2020

From Coinbase Brooks Into OCC With List of Conflicts Withheld So Now FOIA Request

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

UN GATE / SDNY COURT, June 18 – May 29 was the last day for Joseph Otting as US Comptroller of the Currency, a position he has misused to attack the Community Reinvestment Act he came to despise as head of OneWest Bank.

   A week later Ottting cashed out, taking a paying position on the board of directors of Black Knight, described as a fintech.
 
  But if bank regulators have a cooling off period, how can the just former Comptroller joint a fintech, an industry he and his successor worked and work to get into the national banking world?

  As to Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, Bloomberg reported that "[a]s Coinbase’s chief legal officer, Brooks was paid $1.4 million in salary -- separate from the stock options -- in the year and a half he spent with company, which had weighed seeking a charter through the OCC before making other moves to access the banking system... He still has stock and bond holdings between $1 million and $2.2 million. Because he’s acting comptroller -- not yet nominated by President Donald Trump to seek Senate confirmation -- he’s not required to take the ethics pledge that would limit his ability to work in lobbying after he leaves the job, according to an OCC spokesman. However, Brooks has submitted a letter through the agency’s ethics office outlining companies he’ll steer clear of because of potential conflicts of interest, including Amazon.com Inc., Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit, Coinbase and a number of other tech firms he’s worked with....  Otting, who left the job last month, wasn’t out of work long. He was tapped this week to join the board of Black Knight Inc., which provides software for the mortgage industry." Bloomberg did not delve into that conflict of interest. And what are the "other tech firms" as to which Brooks is acknowledging a conflict?

   The OCC wrote to Inner City Press, faux apologizing for withholding information it has requested about Otting until after he had left the agency. Inner City Press immediately wrote back requesting a copy of Brooks' ethics letter and list of companies as to which even he acknowledges a conflict of interest.

  Today on June 18, that simple request was denied and so a FOIA request filed: "This is a request under FOIA on behalf of Inner City Press and in my personal capacity for all records concerning conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest by Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, including but not limited to the Ethics letter Inner City Press requested from the OCC, below, and Coinbase, Avant, OneWest and any other firm.  Inner City Press in responding to a request by OCC to "close out" a FOIA request still not completed asked "I do have an OCC public information / transparency question - for the Acting Comptroller's ethics filing. To identify it: "Brooks has submitted a letter through the agency's ethics office outlining companies he'll steer clear of because of potential conflicts of interest, including Amazon.com Inc., Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch unit, Coinbase and a number of other tech firms he's worked with." What are those companies? Thanks, -Matthew Lee, Inner City Press"  Days later and minutes ago Inner City Press received this: Good Morning Mr. Lee....  I don't know the answer to the question you asked.  You should file a FOIA request for the records you seek regarding the Acting Comptroller. " This is that request, on which expedited treatment should be granted - such disclosures are among the very purposes of FOIA."  Watch this site.

As CFPB Shirks Public Process With Advisory Opinions Its Whitewash of Mortgage Continues With Attack on CRA

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

South Bronx, June 18 – With the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency now under Brian Brooks formally undermining the  Community Reinvestment Act, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch filed a number of CRA protests, and requests with bank- and non-bank lenders for their PPP information.

  On June 18 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced "a pilot advisory opinion program designed to provide additional protections for financial institutions at the expense of consumers. Under the CFPB pilot, itself issued without notice and comment, financial institutions are invited to submit requests for regulatory clarifications in areas of “substantive importance.” The advisory opinions will then be issued by the CFPB, without notice-and-public comment, on the basis of confidential information submitted by the financial institution. Only entities subject to the CFPB’s jurisdiction may request these advisory opinions, and the advisory opinions will provide safe harbor protections for financial institutions under all major consumer protection laws. One of the priorities of the pilot program is to identify outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome regulations in order to reduce regulatory burdens on companies." This is a pattern.

The CFPB 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.

June 15, 2020

Through Revolving Door Brooks Into OCC With List of Conflicts As Otting Out to Black Knight

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

UN GATE / SDNY COURT, June 11 – Only a week ago, May 29 was the last day for Joseph Otting as US Comptroller of the Currency, a position he has misused to attack the Community Reinvestment Act he came to despise as head of OneWest Bank.

  Now a week later Ottting has cashed out, taking a paying position on the board of directors of Black Knight, described as a fintech.
 
  But if bank regulators have a cooling off period, how can the just former Comptroller joint a fintech, an industry he and his successor worked and work to get into the national banking world?

  As to now Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, Bloomberg reports that "[a]s Coinbase’s chief legal officer, Brooks was paid $1.4 million in salary -- separate from the stock options -- in the year and a half he spent with company, which had weighed seeking a charter through the OCC before making other moves to access the banking system. He also received $1.5 million in the past two years from Fannie Mae, where he was a board member after having been the company’s top lawyer.  Brooks traded those lucrative posts to earn less than $300,000 a year running the OCC. But he still has stock and bond holdings between $1 million and $2.2 million. Also, OCC chiefs are among high-ranking government officials who often move on to high-paying positions after their time in the government.  Because he’s acting comptroller -- not yet nominated by President Donald Trump to seek Senate confirmation -- he’s not required to take the ethics pledge that would limit his ability to work in lobbying after he leaves the job, according to an OCC spokesman. However, Brooks has submitted a letter through the agency’s ethics office outlining companies he’ll steer clear of because of potential conflicts of interest, including Amazon.com Inc., Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit, Coinbase and a number of other tech firms he’s worked with....  Otting, who left the job last month, wasn’t out of work long. He was tapped this week to join the board of Black Knight Inc., which provides software for the mortgage industry." Bloomberg did not delve into that conflict of interest. And what are the "other tech firms" as to which Brooks is ackowledging a conflict? Watch this site.

   It has not only been a policy dispute. Under Otting, the OCC immediately started denying Freedom of Information Act fee waivers, even for copies of pending merger applications subject to public comment. He debased certain longtime OCC staff, or perhaps they had alwasy been ready to take this turn. Time will tell.


Amid PPP Secrecy By Mnuchin Inner City Press Requests Basic Data Sample PNC Answer Here

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

SDNY COURT / SOUTH BRONX, June 13 –     Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, fair lending and the Community Reinvestment Act are taking a back seat, or worse. Some banks to which CRA applies are excluding smaller businesses and those in communities of color. And some banks bragging about the PPP loans won't provide any information - we are Pressing.

   Inner City Press / Community on the Move has begun contacting both banks and non-banks for their Paycheck Protection Program data. Without yet getting into the full results, we want to make a contrast not only to the contempt for CRA and public disclosure shown by Joseph Otting, now with Black Knight but also his OneWest crony and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin calling PPP information "proprietary."

 The contrast is to the answers by a sample bank, PNC, to questions Inner City Press / Community on the Move put to it and others:

"Hello again, Matthew. I am able to answer most but not all of your questions. As you know, the Paycheck Protection Program is still active but I can provide the most recent information on hand: 

1. How many loans have you made pursuant to the programs? We have registered more than 74,000 applications from small business customers in 49 states and the District of Columbia. 

2. What is the total dollar amount of loans made pursuant to the program ? $14.1 billion 

3. What is the average loan size? The average loan amount for all of our SBA registered loans is less than $190,000, demonstrating that our efforts reached many of the smallest businesses in need. 

4. What is the distribution by loan size (e.g. LTE $99,999, $100,000-$999,999, $1mm-$10mm) of the loans made pursuant to the program?  Approximately 80 percent of the total applications that we have been able to successfully register with the SBA are for amounts of $150,000 or less; and an additional 10 percent are for amounts of $350,000 or less (but more than $150,000). Although the statutory maximum PPP loan size per business is $10 million, only 0.4 percent of our total SBA-registered applications are for amounts above $5 million. 

5. What is the distribution of the average annual revenues of borrowers under your program (e.g., LTE $99,999, $100,000-$999,999, $1mm-$5mm)? This information was not required to be provided on the SBA PPP application. 

6. How many loans have you made to qualifying tax-exempt non-profits?  What is the total dollar amount of those loans? We also took special care to ensure that applications from non-profit organizations were not left behind. We have successfully registered more than 4,600 PPP applications totaling $1.24 billion from non-profit organizations throughout our footprint.

 7. How many loans have you made to hotels and restaurants (NAICS code beginning with 72)?  What is the total dollar amount of those loans? This information is not available. 

8. What is the distribution of loans by number of employees of the borrower (e.g., 1-10, 11-50, 51-100, 101-250, 251-5000?  Eighty two percent of our SBA-registered loans are for businesses with twenty or fewer employees, and an additional ten percent are for businesses with 21 to 50 employees. Only six percent of our SBA-registered loans are for businesses with between 51 and 250 employees, and only one percent for businesses with more than 250 employees. Clearly, our efforts assisted some of the smallest businesses across our communities. 

9. What percentage of your PPP loans are to borrowers with a previous borrowing relationship with your institution? We require that the borrower have a business relationship with us, which could mean a loan or deposit relationship. The vast majority (85 percent) of the PPP applications we have processed and registered with the SBA are from our Business Banking clients, which is our business segment that services business clients (including non-profits, sole proprietors and independent contractors) with less than $5 million in annual revenues. Only approximately 15 percent of the PPP loans that we submitted and that have been registered by the SBA are from eligible businesses within our Corporate & Institutional Bank, which services businesses with $5 million or more in annual revenues, or other business segments... On our PPP applications from small businesses operating in low- or moderate-income (LMI) geographies, as you know these areas are frequently the hardest hit in periods of economic stress. I am pleased to report that we have assisted more than 15,400 small business located in LMI census tracts receive SBA registration for their loans aggregating to approximately $3.36 billion. To further support small businesses that may lack access to traditional financial institutions, PNC has committed nearly $50 million to eight community development financial institutions (CDFIs) since March 2020 to support their own origination of PPP loans in potentially underserved geographies and sectors."

  Contrast this to the "proprietary information" dodge - and note for example that the highest overdraft fee bank in America, Ameris Bank has for now responded to Inner City Press' questions by stating that: "Information about our Paycheck Protection Program participation can be found in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Sincerely,  William D. McKendry EVP and Chief Risk Officer Ameris Bank. " UNacceptable.

  We'll have more on this and others, including fintechs. Watch this site.

June 8, 2020

Police Brutality Bonds Raise Questions About Investments by Federal Reserve and UN

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Soundcloud
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 6 – Amid the protests of police brutality triggered by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, U.S. cities' use of municipal bonds reduce the cost of their abuse of residents has come into focus.

   Holders of issuances such as Chicago, IL 7.045% 2029 bonds have been petitioned to acknowledge their role in enabling and reducing the costs of brutality.   A former attorney for the City of Chicago admitted, "When you had to budget more for police tort liability you had less to do lead poisoning screening for the poor children of Chicago.  We had a terrible lead poisoning problem and there was a direct relationship between the two.  Those kids were paying those tort judgments, not the police officers."

 Chicago’s lawsuit payouts required the city to sell $1 billion in bonds in 2011 and to issue $100 million in bonds in 2014.111  Yet the spokesman for the Chicago  Police Department made clear that “the police department isn’t forced to cut back on things like OT [overtime] or equipment purchases due to litigation costs Email from Roderick Drew, Freedom of Info. Officer, City of Chi. Law Dep’t, to author (Oct. 9, 2013), on file with Joanna C. Schwartz of UCLA School of Law. See, 63 UCLA L. Rev. 1144.  

But what about the Federal Reserve, which is taking credit for its purchase of municipal bonds as for its involvement in the increasingly disparate Paycheck Protection Program? Any screening on issues of police brutality and others by the Fed is not apparent. And what about the United Nations and its UN Pension Fund? Inner City Press will have more on this.

June 1, 2020

On Day Otting Out of OCC Legacy of Contempt For CRA Public Process and FOIA Brooks Next

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

UN GATE / SDNY COURT, May 29 – Today is the last day for Joseph Otting as US Comptroller of the Currency, a position he has misused to attack the Community Reinvestment Act he came to despise as head of OneWest Bank.

  We have only two words: Good riddance.

   It has not only been a policy dispute. Under Otting, the OCC immediately started denying Freedom of Information Act fee waivers, even for copies of pending merger applications subject to public comment. He debased certain longtime OCC staff, or perhaps they had alwasy been ready to take this turn. Time will tell.

Otting started refusing to consider timely comments on mergers, such as the take-over of Chinatown FSB by a national bank. Such contempt for the public and the public process is Otting's legacy.

  What will change under Otting's successor Brian P. Brooks? Brooks was vice chair of OneWest, before going to FannieMae then CoinBase, which he left only in March. Inner City Press has heard a number of things about Brooks, but as always goes into it with an open mind. Watch this site

May 25, 2020

Amid PPP Abuse Lenders Like Berkshire Bank Refuse As Inner City Press Requests Basic Data

By Matthew Russell Lee,