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Henry Ford said, "It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."

Credit Suisse agreed in May 2014 to pay $2.6 billion and plead guilty to conspiracy to helping U.S. taxpayers file false income tax returns. As part of the agreement, it admitted that it operated an illegal cross-border business for decades that hid offshore assets. THEN The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday said it granted Credit Suisse Group AG an exemption from certain restrictions stemming from its guilty plea to helping Americans evade taxes, effectively allowing the bank to continue to manage $2 billion in U.S. retirement money.

Even a monkey
is self-aware,

which is required to understand selfhood in others, and ultimately to be empathic.

see  a1412.pdf below

An audit of the Department of Justice’s efforts to address mortgage fraud says the success of at least one of its programs was vastly overstated in a well-publicized 2012 press conference and wasn’t quietly corrected until a year later.

According to the audit, released Thursday by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, officials stated in October 2012 that the Distressed Homeowner Initiative netted 530 criminal defendants, including 172 “executives.” The cases investigated involved more than 73,000 homeowner victims and total losses by the victims were estimated at more than $1 billion.

But it was all wrong.

The press conference was led by Attorney General Eric Holder and included HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, FBI Associate Deputy Director Kevin Perkins, and Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.  In August, the FBI released a memo that concluded the statistics announced during the Oct. 9, 2012 press conference were overstated.  The number of criminal defendants was really only 107 _ the number of executives was not given in that total. The number of victims was really only 17,185 not 73,000, and the amount of loss was $95 million, a 91 percent reduction from the $1 billion stated in the October 2012 press conference.  “The Department of Justice’s release of significantly flawed information at a highly publicized press conference in October 2012 regarding the purported success of the recent mortgage fraud initiative reflects the lack of accurate data maintained by the department regarding its mortgage fraud efforts, as well as the department’s serious failure to adequately vet information that it was presenting to the public,” the audit says.  “Only days after the press conference, the department had serious concerns over the accuracy of the reported statistics, yet it was not until August 2013 when the department informed the public that the October 2012 statistics were flawed.”  Moreover, the audit notes, that in the 10 months following the press conference, the department continued to issue press releases publicizing statistics it knew were seriously flawed.

U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Audit Division
Audit Report 14-12 March 2014

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and its components, particularly the FBI, United States Attorneys’ Offices (USAO), Criminal Division, and Civil Division, along with the DOJ-led interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), play an important role in combating mortgage fraud through civil litigation and criminal investigation and prosecution. The objective of this audit was to assess DOJ’s approach and enforcement efforts in addressing mortgage fraud generally between fiscal years (FY) 2009 and 2011. According to FBI Criminal Investigative Division officials, certain complex financial crimes are not assigned a priority ranking. For example, the FBI informed us that crimes such as bankruptcy fraud, credit card fraud, mass marketing fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering, and other mail and wire fraud crimes were not ranked at all.

5/12/15 The House Is Set to Pass a GOP Bill Wiping Out Wall Street Reforms
The Fitzpatrick legislation signals the beginning of a sustained assault on Dodd-Frank by the new GOP Congress.


Banks Too Stressed to Bail:

5/4/14 America’s big banks are failing basic health tests AUDITING FIRM FAIL!!!

Bank of America missed a $4bn problem for five years, and the Federal Reserve only recently noticed. It may be time to worry. Bank of America flunked the Federal Reserve's test of bank health, called a stress test. Each year the Fed asks the country’s 30 largest financial institutions to determine whether they’re healthy enough to survive a crisis – like a repeat of the 2008 meltdown or worse. The Fed has provided a reality check to Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, even Citigroup, which flunked the Fed’s test. There are no guarantees of absolute safety in life, in investing, or in banking. The Fed can try to make it safer for us to trust the banks, and indeed, that’s their job. And a stress test, as long as it’s clear to everyone involved just what is being measured and what its limitations are, is one part of that. But it can’t be a guarantee of financial health. Even the experts are sometimes just guessing.

7/30/14 Bank of America and federal prosecutors
have accelerated their negotiations to resolve an investigation into the bank’s sale of troubled mortgage securities before the financial crisis. Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Federal District Court in Manhattan ordered Bank of America on Wednesday to pay a nearly $1.3 billion penalty in another federal mortgage case. The ruling comes nine months after federal prosecutors persuaded a jury to find Bank of America liable for selling questionable loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled mortgage finance giants, before the financial crisis. Bank of America refused to settle the case and went to trial, a roll of the dice that came back to haunt the bank and could now bleed into negotiations in Washington.  That case, and the separate mortgage settlement talks underway in Washington, further tarnish Bank of America as a symbol of all that was bad in the mortgage market leading up to the foreclosure crisis. Many of the problems stem from Countrywide Financial, the large subprime lender that Bank of America acquired in early 2008. Tensions over the cash penalty have also shaped Bank of America’s negotiations. The bank has balked at paying a large penalty for the defective mortgage securities sold by Countrywide and Merrill Lynch before Bank of America agreed to acquire the companies in 2008, according to people briefed on the matter.  But Judge Rakoff’s ruling, which imposes a nearly $1.3 billion penalty on Bank of America for fraud committed by a Countrywide mortgage program, undercuts that argument.  “Today, Judge Rakoff imposed stiff penalties in a case brought by this office to punish and deter the fraudulent and reckless lending activities of a financial institution leading up to the financial crisis in 2008,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement on Wednesday.

8.20.14 $16.65 Billion Mortgage Settlement Nears for Bank of America 
The Justice Department is poised to announce a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over accusations that it duped investors into buying troubled mortgage securities, say people briefed on the matter — the single largest government settlement by a company in American history.  Yet even as that accord nears completion, prosecutors are preparing a separate civil case against Angelo Mozilo, the man who came to embody the risk-taking for which Bank of America is now paying dearly, a rare move against a senior executive at the center of the financial crisis.  The Bank of America settlement will be a coda to a painful period for the bank and the broader financial industry. More than any other Wall Street giant, Bank of America was the source of the troubled subprime loans that helped ignite the crisis — the result of its acquisitions of Merrill Lynch and Mr. Mozilo’s Countrywide Financial.

pirate and thief
jp morgan bank


11/7/14 Matt Taibbi and Bank Whistleblower on How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy, Avoid Prosecution
Why JP Morgan Didn't go to Jail Whistleblower Alayne Fleischmann - VIDEO starts at 17:45

How did the bank avoid prosecution for committing fraud that helped cause the 2008 financial crisis? Today we speak to JPMorgan Chase whistleblower Alayne Fleischmann in her first televised interview discussing how she witnessed "massive criminal securities fraud" in the bank’s mortgage operations. She is profiled in Matt Taibbi’s new Rolling Stone investigation, "The $9 Billion Witness: Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking."


Risk is part of Big Banks' business plans because they know that essentially no one will be sent to jail.

If this is the way they are judging things -- 7 years after the crash -- that there is no risk, then the corruption simply won't end. This is a crafted, rigged game. Private banks and central banks collude together. These entities have alliances with their respective governments. Everyone pays each other off. This is statecraft. They can all collude together knowing there is no risk. There are no rules for them but there are rules for the rest of us. 

12/9/14 Citi predicts $2.7bn legal costs

In October, Citigroup was forced to restate its third-quarter earnings as a result of rising legal costs. Michael Corbat, the chief executive of US bank Citigroup, has said the firm is setting aside $2.7bn (£1.7bn) for legal costs in the fourth-quarter. Costs have risen due to US investigations into Citigroup's behaviour in currency markets, setting the Libor rate, as well as an anti-money-laundering probe. In October, the bank was forced to restate its third-quarter results. It wrote off $600m due to the "rapidly evolving regulatory inquiries". Mr Corbat made the remarks during a presentation at an investor conference, in which he also said that bank would write down $800m in expenses related to real estate and employee headcount.

11/14/14 Bill Gross reportedly earns $290m bonus even as investors withdrew billions from Pimco funds 59 other reportedly executives split a $1.2bn bonus pool.

11/13/14 Barclays may face massive new penalty over currency rigging - Bank puts discount on fines at risk by refusing early settlement as six rivals are ordered to pay £2.6bn for currency rigging

8/20/14 Standard Chartered to pay fresh penalty to NY regulator

Standard Chartered has agreed to pay $300m (£180m) to New York's top banking regulator for failing to improve its money laundering controls.  The British bank has also been banned from accepting new dollar clearing accounts without the state's approval.  The penalty comes after the bank failed to fix problems identified in 2012.
"We are continuing the remediation of our AML [anti-money laundering] control issues with the utmost urgency, in addition to improving our compliance programmes generally," it added.  It said a "small proportion" of its clients would be affected by the suspension of dollar clearing for high risk retail clients at its Hong Kong unit, and the banning of high-risk client relationships in the United Arab Emirates.  Independent financial analyst Francis Lun told the news agency AFP the fine would have a negative impact on the bank's reputation and international business.  "It's really an oversight on the part of Standard Chartered. They'd already paid a huge penalty [and] still installed a system that is useless," Mr Lun said.

8/19/14 Former Lehman Brothers ENGLISH bankers win pensions battle

Lehman Brothers ENGLISH bankers will have their pensions paid in full following a six-year legal battle.  The bankers, all based in Britain, will receive a total of $306m (£184m) from the collapsed US investment bank.  The deal works out at around £75,000 for each of the 2,466 members.  The Wall Street bank collapsed in 2008 in the highest-profile failure of a bank during the financial crisis.



Despite the fact that the Federal Reserve obviously gave us completely inaccurate forecasting before the last crash, we are supposed to believe their lies. We are supposed to believe that there is no collusion between the Federal Reserve and these banks although the Federal Reserve is owned by private bankers.

US big banks have enough capital buffers to withstand a drastic economic downturn, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday, announcing that 29 out of 30 major banks met the minimum hurdle in its annual health check.

All of the big banks except for Zions Bancorp stayed above the 5% requirement for top-tier capital in the latest round of stress tests. “The only results that are more nerve racking than stress test results for bankers are their bonus results,” said Dan Ryan, head of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s financial services advisory practice.

The tests aim to show how banks would weather a financial collapse similar to the 2007-2009 crisis. Banks had to show how they would cope with a halving of the stock market, and the eight largest banks had to weigh the impact of the default of their biggest trading counterparty.

Stress tests are closely watched by financial markets as a sign of the industry’s health, and also because the Fed can reject banks’ plans to return capital to shareholders if they think the banks are not strong enough to carry them out.


4/15/14 The Global Banking Game is Rigged and the FDIC is Suing

Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. 

According to an SEIU report:
Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.
It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out.

A former senior trader at Rabobank has pleaded guilty to interest rate rigging in the US.  
Paul Robson is the second trader at the Dutch bank to plead guilty to trying to rig the Yen Libor rate and the first Briton to do so. Last year Rabobank paid $1bn (£597m) to US and European regulators for its part in the global rate-rigging scandal.  Barclays Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank have all previously been fined for rate rigging.  Mr Robson conspired to manipulate Libor submissions to benefit trading positions between 2006 and 2011, the US Department of Justice said.  Libor - London interbank offered rate - is one of the interest rates use by global banks to lend money to each other. It supports hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions, and is used to set interest rates on credit cards, student loans and mortgages.  Regulators in the US and Europe have been investigating whether banks attempted to manipulate this and other key interest rates to benefit their own trading positions.
Lloyds has been fined £218m for "serious misconduct" over some key interest rates set in London.  Lloyds manipulated the London interbank offered rate (Libor) for yen and sterling and tried to rig the rate for yen, sterling and the US dollar, said the US legal order. Lloyds Banking Group was fined £218m for "serious misconduct" for its part in interest rate rigging.  Lloyds manipulated both the yen and sterling Libor rates and tried to rig the rate for the US dollar, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and US financial regulators said.  At the time Bank of England governor Mark Carney called the misconduct "reprehensible".




The Wolf of Wall Street was a predator, but so were all those reputable investment banks that shorted the products they were selling, and the retail banks that offered mortgages to unviable borrowers, which they could then repackage and sell as investment-grade securities. They were all wolves in sheep's clothing.

A decent banking system has two functions: to look after depositors' money and to bring together savers and investors in mutually profitable trades. Savings are deposited with banks because they are trusted not to steal them, and custody has a price. The deals that banks arrange between borrowers and lenders are the lifeblood of modern economies – and risky work for which bankers deserve to be well rewarded. But any money that bankers earn over and above the cost of compensating them for providing an essential service represents what former British regulator Adair Turner calls "social waste," or what used to be described as "usury."

It is not the extent of the financial system that should alarm us, but its concentration and connectivity. In the United Kingdom, an ever-increasing share of bank assets has been concentrated in the five largest banks. Standard economic theory tells us that excessive profits are the direct result of concentrated ownership.


OUR HERO EXPLAINS: Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Financial World Michael Lewis HFT "Flash Boys" part 1 and part 2 explains how the HFT trader gets to trade against you!



On Wall Street, the Corleone family fits right in Richard Cohen

FADE IN: Michael Corleone’s den.

He is at his desk. Facing him are members of his organization. Michael rises and dims the lights. He starts a PowerPoint display showing the various Mafia families. The chieftains and button men are puzzled but they say nothing. Michael turns the lights back on. It is clear he is about to say something important.

Michael: “We’re gonna incorporate.”

The capos are shocked. They all start talking at once. “Michael, Michael, what would your old man say?”

Michael: “The Godfather is dead. So is his way of doing business. Hyman Roth showed me what we should do. We turn the Corleone family into Corleone Enterprises Ltd. We list it on the stock exchange along with the other criminals. We do what we have always done, but if we get caught, nobody goes to jail. We pay a fine and say we’re sorry.”

Al Pacino in The Godfather: part II. Part of The Godfather: 
“Michael, Michael,” Luca Brasi says. “It is not possible. You do the crime, you do the time.”

Michael is patient. “The French bank BNP Paribas admitted it broke the law. It copped a plea. It said it helped Iran avoid sanctions. Iran is our mortal enemy and a country the Corleone family has no sympathy for. The bank helped our enemy and he who helps our enemy is also our enemy. So what happened? Tell ’em, Hyman.”

Hyman says, “They paid a fine, nearly $9 billion. A piffle for them. But it was treated like the corporation acted on its own. Nobody was in charge. Nobody benefited. A corporation is the perfect crime family.”

Michael says, “Tell ’em about Credit Suisse.”

“It pleaded guilty to tax evasion,” Hyman says. “Tax evasion! But no one went to jail. It paid Uncle Sam almost $2.6 billion and went on its way. Al Capone of blessed memory got 11 years for tax evasion.

Why? Because even though he controlled all the rackets in Chicago and had politicians and judges in his pocket, he was not incorporated.”

Michael says, “Corporations don’t go to jail. And neither do the people who run the corporations. Banks have paid a fortune in penalties for cheating and lying and selling junk and ruining people’s lives, and nobody goes to jail.

Fredo says, “Being a corporation is never having to say you’re sorry.”

Michael looks disgusted: “Fredo, you’re in the wrong movie.”

Luca Brasi says, “I don’t know, Michael. It don’t seem right. I don’t know about these things. You need someone whacked, I do it. Garroted, that’s me. Shot, again that’s me. But this, I don’t understand. It just don’t seem right.”

Michael ignores him. “Hyman, tell ’em the rest.”

“We’re going to buy a business in Switzerland. When we have control of it, we become a Swiss corporation and pay taxes there, where they are lower. This is called an inversion and is something Walgreens says it is now considering. It got tax breaks in Illinois and tax credits and training money, and it don’t matter. It still might go to Switzerland, where the weather, if you ask me, is lousy.”

Fredo interjects. “But we’re an Italian family.”

Luca Brasi: “Sicilian!”

Michael signals for quiet. “Globalization means you don’t belong to any country. You have allegiances to no one except your own family or, as it happens, the corporation. Pfizer tried to buy AstraZeneca so it could move to England. But they stupidly made an offer that AstraZeneca could refuse — and it did.

Many companies are doing this and no one says nothing about loyalty to the country or anything like that. Corporations can do anything they want. We will do the same. We will move where the taxes are lowest, and we will never speak of this matter outside of the company. We will use our people in the media who are on our payroll to say that we are studying many options to maximize stockholder value. You, Fredo, will go on CNBC and not wear a tie so you look cool. All of you, remember that phrase and use it often: Maximize stockholder value.”

“Michael, Michael,” Luca Brasi says. “What does it mean?”

“Nothing, everything, anything you want,” Michael says. He pauses. “I am no longer Capo di tutti capi. I am the CEO. Tom Hagen is no longer consigliere. He’s the general counsel. All we do is change the titles but not who we are. We’re still criminals.”

“Like others on Wall Street, this is the business we’ve chosen,” Hyman Roth says.



bank Propaganda



Back in the 1930s, Henry Ford is supposed to have remarked that it was a good thing that most Americans didn't know how banking really works, because if they did, "there'd be a revolution before tomorrow morning".

3/18/14 Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy", co-authored by three economists from the Bank's Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

In other words, everything we know is not just wrong – it's backwards. When banks make loans, they create money.

This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognize as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. There's really no limit on how much banks could create, provided they can find someone willing to borrow it. They will never get caught short, for the simple reason that borrowers do not, generally speaking, take the cash and put it under their mattresses; ultimately, any money a bank loans out will just end up back in some bank again. Read more 




THE CHUTZBA: HSBC chairman warns against banking reforms
Douglas Flint warns that banking reforms due in 2019 could deter banks from taking even the most minor risks. READ THE COMMENTS


banks get caught and cheat some more


Lloyds Banking Group faces a new row over payment protection insurance after the BBC claimed that it had legally reduced compensation payouts to people mis-sold PPI.

Lloyds Banking Group faces a new row over payment protection insurance after the BBC claimed that it had legally reduced compensation payouts to people mis-sold PPI. In a Radio 4 program to be broadcast on Tuesday, the bank is accused of cutting payments by tens of millions of pounds to some of those mis-sold PPI using an obscure rule that is allowed by the financial regulator.

Banks and building societies have set aside billions of pounds to reimburse consumers who were mis-sold PPI policies alongside loans and credit cards, with Lloyds alone providing almost £10bn for payouts. However, the BBC said some customers who had bought single-premium PPI policies, where the entire cost of the insurance was charged upfront and added to the loan, were not getting all of their money back.

Cliff D'Arcy, a journalist who used to work in financial services, told the BBC: "What's happening here is a taxpayer-sponsored bank is depriving taxpayers of their rightful compensation by using a loophole. It's a scandal coming out of a scandal."


banks collude with government officials


Like Loyds, Goldman Sachs was caught red handed. Instead of getting put in jail, executives were slapped on the wrist. Goldman CONTINUES TO CHEAT!  And they continue to just get a slap on the wrist. . . and REWARDED by the government officials who collude with them! 

Britain's tax authorities have given Goldman Sachs an unusual and generous Christmas present, leaked documents reveal. In a secret London meeting last December with the head of Revenue, the wealthy Wall Street banking firm was forgiven £10m interest on a failed tax avoidance scheme.

HM Revenue and Customs sources admit privately that the interest-free deal is "a cock-up" by officials, but refuse to say who was responsible.

Documents leaked to Private Eye magazine and published in full by the Guardian record that Britain's top tax official, HMRC's permanent secretary Dave Hartnett, personally shook hands on a secret settlement last December.

Hartnett is due to be questioned on Wednesday by the Commons public accounts committee. The leaked documents suggest that a previous PAC chairman, Edward Leigh, was misled when he was told it was illegal to reveal details of such cases to parliament.



The chief executive of JP Morgan Chase’s China investment banking arm is leaving, according to an internal memo disclosed on Monday. His departure comes amid a US investigation of the bank’s hiring practices in Asia.

Fang Fang, 48, a Chinese citizen who has been with JP Morgan for more than a decade, is a key figure in an ongoing investigation into the bank’s hiring of the sons and daughters of prominent Chinese officials. He had strong ties to the Chinese government and served a five-year term with the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, from 2008 to 2013.

The US Justice Department is investigating JP Morgan under the foreign corrupt practices act (FCPA), which bars American companies from giving money or other valuable items to foreign officials in order to win business.


banks trying to scam the rich . . and the poor


Ask average Americans what they think of payday lenders and the answer is consistent: payday lenders are loan sharks who prey upon those in need of cash, slamming them with high interest rates. Despite practices that have attracted the scrutiny of financial regulators, payday lenders are still considered a legal business in many states – a situation that has caused many a headache for US financial regulators. What happens with payday lenders rarely stays there; the trouble grows to capture banks that do business with them as well, and eventually affects consumers. 

“I ended up paying $1,800 for a $600 loan ... They are complete crooks!” reads one complaint from a client of a payday lender whose transactions went through North Carolina-based Four Oaks Bank.

Four Oaks, a community bank with a modest $800 million in assets, is an avatar of how the quiet and respectable outposts of the legitimate banking system can get caught up with the seedy side of the finance industry.

At the heart of the Four Oaks matter is the wider debate that’s currently playing out in the financial sector: what qualifies as a real sign of fraud, and how much vigilance is expected from banks about the businesses they work with.

When it comes to payday lenders – businesses that offer two-week loans to working-class Americans – banks are learning to be vigilant because of a recent government crackdown called Operation Choke-Point. But the fees that come from get from turning a blind eye are still temptingly high.



all banks cheat

but the government wants everyone 'banked'!

Although it's obvious that Banks can't avoid taking high risks, gambling, and ripping off consumers, there are actually initiatives out to get MORE people banked

Press Release FDIC Releases National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked
FDIC's Committee on Economic Inclusion to Discuss Strategies to Expand Access

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today released the results of its 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, the most comprehensive survey on the unbanked and underbanked in the United States. The survey indicates that more than one in four U.S. households (28.3%) are either unbanked or underbanked, a slight increase from the findings of the FDIC's 2009 inaugural survey. 1 The survey, conducted every two years by the FDIC in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of the Census, provides the banking industry and policy makers with insights and guidance on the demographics and needs of the unbanked and underbanked.

According to the 2011 Survey, 821,000 more U.S. households have become unbanked since the first survey in 2009, representing a 0.6 percentage point increase. More than half of all unbanked households said they do not have an account because they believe they do not have enough money or that they do not need or want an account. In addition, the report shows that three in ten households nationally do not hold a savings account.

"The results of the 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households indicate that insured financial institutions have an important chance to grow their customer base by expanding opportunities that bring unbanked and underbanked individuals into mainstream banking" said FDIC acting chairman Martin J. Gruenberg.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • 8.2 percent of U.S. households are unbanked. This represents one in 12 households in the nation, or nearly 10 million in total. Approximately 17 million adults live in unbanked households.
  • 20.1 percent of U.S. households are underbanked. This represents one in five households, or 24 million households with 51 million adults.
  • 29.3 percent of households do not have a savings account, while about 10 percent do not have a checking account. About two-thirds of households have both checking and savings accounts.
  • One-quarter of households have used at least one alternative financial service (AFS), such as non-bank check cashing or payday loans in the past year, and almost one in ten households have used two or more types of AFS products or services. In all, 12 percent of households used an AFS in the past 30 days, including four in 10 unbanked and underbanked households.

"There are many positives to establishing a relationship with an insured financial institution. Access to an account at a federally insured institution provides households with the opportunity to conduct basic financial transactions, build wealth, save for emergency and long-term security needs, and access credit on fair and affordable terms," Gruenberg said.


the ugly future of banking is here



Getting everyone 'banked' so they can be exposed to the ticking time bomb below!

So then, to our ever-widening financial lexicon, a language forced upon us by catastrophe rather than from a desire to broaden our knowledge, we will soon be adding the initials HFT.

Moving beyond such legacy phrases as collateralised debt obligations, default option swaps and off-balance sheet reporting, all so quaint, so pre-Lehman Brothers, HFT – or high-frequency trading – is coming to a dinner party near you. It's the big new buzz in the City and, as you struggle to get your head around what it means to you and your mortgage or pension, you can be assured of three things. First, that it's complicated. Second, a small number of people are making a lot of money from it. And third, it will all end in tears.

Of course, like all new things, it isn't new at all. But the imminent publication of financial seer Michael Lewis's new book on the subject, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, is going to drag it out of the shadows and thrust it before a bewildered public.

It's likely that entire lawsuits will be devoted to HFT in the future but, in a nutshell, it genuflects before that most fundamental of banking maxims: time is money. Over the last two decades, HFT firms have gone to extraordinary lengths to transmit information at close to the speed of light. They have employed fibreoptics, microwaves and even drones to shave microseconds off the time it takes to execute a financial trade. The more time they shave the more they can beat the other guys.


Corporate America's 'ABC' policy - Anything But Capex

The U.S. economy continues to recover from the depths of the Great Recession, although its speed, trajectory and cruising altitude remain the subject of fierce debate. If company executives can be convinced demand can hold up, the conditions for splashing the capex cash are certainly there. Firms have nearly $2 trillion cash, they've reduced their leverage and indebtedness, and funding remains cheap and easy.




9/10/14 Credit Suisse: Too Big To Punish
The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing to waive sanctions against Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:AG) that would prevent it from managing pension money in the wake of the bank pleading guilty to criminal charges. Credit Suisse, whose employees were major financial backers of Obama's election campaigns, comes a few months after a study showed a linkage between campaign contributions and lighter enforcement actions by federal agencies. Department of Labor notes that Credit Suisse "operated an illegal cross-border banking business that knowingly and willfully aided and assisted thousands of U.S. clients in opening and maintaining undeclared accounts" and in "using sham entities" to hide money.
The bank pled guilty to felony charges agreeing to one count of conspiring to aid tax evasion in a scheme that “spanned decades.” Credit Suisse, which has a giant investment bank in New York and whose chief executive is an American, will also pay about $2.6 billion in penalties and hire an independent monitor for up to two years.
Under existing Department of Labor rules, the conviction would prevent Credit Suisse from being designated a "Qualified Professional Asset Manager" (see QPAM Rules PDF). That designation exempts firms from other federal laws, giving them the special status required to do business with many pension funds. The Obama administration's proposed waiver would exempt Credit Suisse from existing anti-criminal sanctions, and allow Credit Suisse to get the QPAM designation. The Federal Register announcement notes that Credit Suisse has assets of nearly $1 trillion, and that if the anti-criminal provisions in federal rules were enforced, the bank said it would lose its ability to offer high-yield bonds, commodities futures and other alternative investment products to federally regulated pension funds. Credit Suisse Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Aid and Assist U.S. Taxpayers in Filing False Returns

8/28/14 Bank of America seeks to void verdict in $1.27 billion 'Hustle' case
Bank of America Corp on Thursday asked a federal judge to throw out a jury verdict finding it liable for fraud over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit that resulted in a $1.27 billion penalty.

8/7/14 Bank of America is nearing a $16 billion to $17 billion settlement to resolve an investigation into its role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis. The deal would be the latest arising from the sale of toxic mortgage securities leading up to the recession. The Justice Department last year reached a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan and in July announced a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup. Yet the cash totals now being paid by some of America's largest banks are not nearly enough to reverse the damages caused by the bursting of the housing bubble and the ensuing recession. Consumer groups have criticized past settlements for being soft on the banks, noting that top executives at these firms have yet to face criminal charges for the actions of their companies, and for an apparent lack of transparency.  The previous settlements have been of a sweeping nature, releasing the banks from numerous claims by state and federal agencies in exchange for multibillion-dollar cash payments and promises of homeowner aid. "Statements of facts" accompanying the deals refrained from identifying executives involved in the alleged wrongdoing.

8.4.14 AIG to pay $960M to settle shareholder lawsuits

The settlement stems from several class-action lawsuits claiming that AIG executives gave false and misleading information about the insurer's health, including its exposure to the risky home loans that triggered the mortgage crisis.

7/24/14 Lloyds Banking Group faces fine of up to £300m over Libor rigging 

Bailed-out bank is latest firm penalized by regulator the Financial Conduct Authority over rigging benchmark interest rate. Bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group appears poised to become the latest financial firm to be penalised for rigging Libor and is said to be facing a fine of between £200m and £300m.  The bank, 24% owned by the taxpayer, is expected to pay the fine to the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, as well as regulators in the US, which are involved the extensive investigation into the potential rigging of the benchmark interest rate. The penalty for Lloyds comes more than two years after Libor manipulations at Barclays were exposed and regulators on both sides of the Atlantic imposed a £290m fine. That fine in June 2012 has since been followed by settlements with Swiss bank UBS, bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland, Dutch bank Rabobank, and two money brokers, Icap and RP Martin.

7/19/14 BNP pleads guilty again in $9 billion U.S. sanctions accord

BNP Paribas, for the second time in nine days, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions, as part of a nearly $9 billion settlement in which the French bank admitted to breaking embargoes against Sudan, Cuba and Iran.

7/10/14 Swiss ex-banker charged with giving data to WikiLeaks

A Swiss prosecutor brought charges against former Julius Baer private banker Rudolf Elmer on Wednesday for allegedly handing over confidential data to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and attempting to pass on files to German officials.

7/10/14 Private equity firms face new scrutiny in age of wiretaps and prosecution

How private equity makes money. Private equity firms have long, quietly made billions, but a lawsuit heralds a new era of surveillance and enforcement. A number of leading private equity firms illegally colluded on prices when trying to acquire portfolio companies during the “boom years” that preceded the financial crisis in 2008. The elements of collusion are relatively easy to understand. It's about “bid rigging”. Imagine an episode of Storage Wars: it would be unethical if the bidders agreed amongst themselves not to go over a certain preset price they themselves chose. The seller doesn't get the price he wants, and other bidders don't have a chance to break the blockade. The auction is, in effect, fixed.

3/26/14 Santander fined £12.5m over poor investment advice
FCA says bank offered unsuitable advice and failed to assess customers' appetite for risk

3/26/14 Bank of America to Pay $6.3 Billion to Settle Mortgage Securities Suit
The payment settles a lawsuit arising out of troubled mortgage-backed securities the bank cobbled together and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the financial crisis.

3/27/14 Bank of America in $9.5bn settlement to pay Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Bank of America agreed to pay $9.5bn (£5.7bn) to settle charges it misled US mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the housing crisis in 2008.  The bank will pay $6.3bn in cash and buy back $3.2bn in mortgage securities.  The settlement resolves four lawsuits filed in 2011 by US regulatory agency, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA).  Those suits were filed against Bank of America as well as Countrywide and Merrill Lynch.  Bank of America bought Countrywide and Merrill Lynch in 2008 and 2009 respectively, during the height of the financial crisis.

4/9/14 Bank of America in $783m settlement Bank of America neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

The payout relates to the bank's sales and marketing of its payment and identity theft protection add-on services from 2010 to 2012.  Regulators said nearly three million customers were affected.  The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a statement that the bank had been "unfairly billing consumers" for the identity theft protection product, and "using deceptive marketing and sales practices" for the credit protection add-ons.  Bank of America neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

4/24/14 Barclays in $280m settlement with US regulators

No one goes to jail. The agreement settles claims by the FHFA that Barclays misled US mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the housing crisis.  The settlement involves two separate suits brought by the FHFA. The FHFA has filed a total of 18 lawsuits over $200bn of mortgage-backed securities sold during the height of the housing bubble.  It has settled 13 of those lawsuits, most notably with Bank of America, which agreed to pay $9bn, and with JP Morgan Chase, which agreed to a $4bn settlement.

4/29/14 Two Giant Banks, Seen as Immune, Become Targets

U.S. Close to Bringing Criminal Charges Against Big Banks Prosecutors are looking to address public outrage and alter the belief that Wall Street institutions are “too big to jail.” Prosecutors in Washington and New York have met with regulators about how to criminally punish banks without putting them out of business and damaging the economy. Leading the investigation — Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan; David O’Neil, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division in Washington; and Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney. The discussions with regulators, recounted in interviews with the lawyers and in records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, offer a lens into the political and legal minefields that prosecutors navigate when investigating big banks. The interviews also demonstrate that defense lawyers continue to push prosecutors not to act without assurances that regulators will keep a bank in business. BNP, has earmarked $1.1 billion to pay penalties in the case but might pay more. Mr. Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency pointed to a federal law that requires the Comptroller’s office to hold a hearing about potentially terminating "all rights, privileges and franchises of the bank." The revocation of a charter amounts to a death sentence for a bank.

4/29/14 New rules for the US divisions of foreign banks. 

The requirement for a holding company, which would incorporate all of {a foreign bank} like Barclays' subsidiaries in the US, is a condition of the Dodd-Frank Act, which aims to impose the same regulations on foreign banks' US divisions as those faced by domestic lenders. Barclays must comply with the US rules by July 2016