Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Mar 28, 2013 Cyberattacks Seem Meant to Destroy, Not Just Disrupt
QUOTE: an intensifying campaign of unusually powerful attacks on American financial institutions that began last September and have taken dozens of them offline intermittently, costing millions of dollars....Corporate leaders have long feared online attacks aimed at financial fraud or economic espionage, but now a new threat has taken hold: attackers, possibly with state backing, who seem bent on destruction.
New York Times Feb 27, 2013 Why It’s Smart to Be Reckless on Wall Street
QUOTE: That asymmetry in pay (money for profits, flat for losses) is the engine behind many of Wall Street’s mistakes. It rewards short-term gains without regard to long-term consequences. The results? The over-reliance on excessive leverage, banks that are loaded with opaque financial products, and trading models that are flawed. Regulation is largely toothless if banks and their employees have the financial incentive to be reckless.
Scientific American Feb 04, 2013 U.S. Accuses S. & P. of Fraud in Suit on Loan Bundles
QUOTE: The Justice Department filed civil fraud charges late on Monday against the nation's largest credit-ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, accusing the firm of inflating the ratings of mortgage investments and setting them up for a crash when the financial crisis struck....From September 2004 through October 2007, S.&P. "knowingly and with the intent to defraud, devised, participated in, and executed a scheme to defraud investors" in certain mortgage-related securities, according to the suit filed against the agency and its parent company, McGraw-Hill Companies. S.&P. also falsely represented that its ratings "were objective, independent, uninfluenced by any conflicts of interest," the suit said.
New York Times Jan 04, 2013 Secret and Lies of the Bailout:The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come
QUOTE: Not only did [the 2009 banking system bailout--Ed.] prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right? Wrong. It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences.
Rolling Stone Nov 03, 2012 One Safety Net That Needs to Shrink (Fair Game)
QUOTE: ...Dodd-Frank actually widened the federal safety net for big institutions. Under that law, eight more giants were granted the right to tap the Federal Reserve for funding when the next crisis hits. At the same time, those eight may avoid Dodd-Frank measures that govern how we’re supposed to wind down institutions that get into trouble.
New York Times Jul 26, 2012 The Real Problem With Offshore Tax Havens
QUOTE: one doesn’t necessarily have to fly to the Channel Islands with a bag of cash to stash ill-gotten gains or evade the taxman anymore. The past 30 years have seen the evolution of a mainstream financial system that is global in scope and that through secrecy and complexity has enabled itself to profit handsomely off of the tax evasion of the world’s richest citizens.
Time Magazine Jul 21, 2012 Into the Bailout Buzz Saw (Fair Game)
QUOTE: Thus the collision course was set between Mr. Barofsky and a crew of complacent, bank-friendly Treasury officials. He soon discovered that the department’s natural stance of marching in lock step with the banks meant that he had to question its policies and programs repeatedly to ensure that taxpayers weren’t at risk for fraud and abuse.
New York Times Jul 21, 2012 £13tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite • Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy • Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens
QUOTE: "The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says
Guardian Unlimited Jul 18, 2012 Capital One to pay $210 million in fines, consumer refunds
QUOTE: Cardholders who enrolled in a payment protection or credit monitoring product -- or who tried to cancel one of these products but were persuaded by a call center representative to keep it -- on or after August 1, 2010, will be refunded the money they paid for the product, as well as any finance charges, over-the-limit fees or interest paid....The latest action marks the first enforcement for the bureau since it began regulating credit cards, mortgages and consumer reporting agencies as part of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform last year.
CNN/Money Magazine Jul 14, 2012 This global financial fraud and its gatekeepers: The media's 'bad apple' thesis no longer works. We're seeing systemic corruption in banking – and systemic collusion
QUOTE: The notion that the entire global financial system is riddled with systemic fraud – and that key players in the gatekeeper roles, both in finance and in government, including regulatory bodies, know it and choose to quietly sustain this reality – is one that would have only recently seemed like the frenzied hypothesis of tinhat-wearers, but this week's headlines make such a conclusion, sadly, inevitable.
Guardian Unlimited Jul 14, 2012 Goldman Sachs and the $580 Million Black Hole
QUOTE: With Goldman Sachs on the job, the corporate takeover of Dragon Systems in an all-stock deal went terribly wrong. Goldman collected millions of dollars in fees — and the Bakers lost everything when Lernout & Hauspie was revealed to be a spectacular fraud.
New York Times Jun 19, 2012 Online credit card complaint database to debut
QUOTE: A new online database...created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will begin by posting grievances against credit card companies...."Disclosing every complaint, without any indication of the veracity of the complaint, is inherently misleading," wrote Fred R. Becker Jr., president of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
CNN/Money Magazine Jun 13, 2012 Owners May Not Be Covered When Hackers Wipe Out A Business Bank Account
QUOTE: Computer security specialists say these crimes, called “corporate account takeovers,” have become increasingly common...most banks do not take responsibility for unauthorized debits from business accounts. Unless the owners have fraud insurance, they must shoulder the losses alone.
New York Times Mar 13, 2012 Rage grows over mortgage deal
QUOTE: As more details emerge about the massive $26 billion foreclosure settlement between the five biggest mortgage lenders and the states' attorneys general, a growing number of borrowers are realizing that the deal will do little, if anything, to help them out.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 08, 2012 States Negotiate $26 Billion Deal for Homeowners
QUOTE: After months of painstaking talks, government authorities and five of the nation’s biggest banks have agreed to a $26 billion settlement that could provide relief to nearly two million current and former American homeowners harmed by the bursting of the housing bubble, state and federal officials said. It is part of a broad national settlement aimed at halting the housing market’s downward slide and holding the banks accountable for foreclosure abuses.
New York Times Jan 30, 2012 Treasury Investigates Freddie Mac Investment
QUOTE: The Treasury Department is investigating a report that Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant, bet against homeowners’ ability to refinance their loans even as it was making it more difficult for them to do so...
New York Times Jan 27, 2012 Wanted: Banking App to Monitor Balances (Your Money)
QUOTE: If you want to know how close you are in the middle of any given month to being assessed an $8 or $10 or $20 fee when the month ends, you need to do the math each day yourself. The resulting effect is this: Many banks have built free-checking scoreboards for people who want to avoid fees, but they’re not putting the numbers up until the monthlong game is over.
New York Times Jan 24, 2012 In Address, Obama Makes Pitch for Economic Fairness
QUOTE: President Obama pledged on Tuesday night to use government power to balance the scale between America’s rich and the rest of the public, trying to present an election-year choice between continued leadership toward an economy “built to last” and what he called irresponsible policies of the past that caused an economic collapse.
New York Times Dec 21, 2011 Countrywide Will Settle a Bias Suit
QUOTE: The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history, saying that Bank of America had agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations that its Countrywide Financial unit discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers during the housing boom.
New York Times Dec 13, 2011 Beirut Bank Seen as a Hub of Hezbollah’s Financing
QUOTE: an intricate global money-laundering apparatus that, with the bank as its hub, appeared to let Hezbollah move huge sums of money into the legitimate financial system, despite sanctions aimed at cutting off its economic lifeblood....While law enforcement agencies around the world have long believed that Hezbollah is a passive beneficiary of contributions from loyalists abroad involved in drug trafficking and a grab bag of other criminal enterprises, intelligence from several countries points to the direct involvement of high-level Hezbollah officials in the South American cocaine trade.
New York Times Nov 25, 2011 Banks’ Ties to Olympus Scrutinized
QUOTE: A number of European banks are under investigation by Japanese authorities to determine whether they helped the management of Olympus hide irregular payments....many questions remain about how Olympus managed to obscure the losses for so long and how much outside help the company may have received.
New York Times Nov 10, 2011 Greece and Italy Seek a Solution From Technocrats
QUOTE: The question now, in both Italy and Greece, is whether the technocrats can succeed where elected leaders failed — whether pressure from the European Union backed by the whip of the financial markets will be enough to dislodge the entrenched cultures of political patronage that experts largely blame for the slow growth and financial crises that plague both countries.
New York Times Oct 26, 2011 Europe Agrees to Basics of Plan to Resolve Euro Crisis
QUOTE: European leaders, in a significant step toward resolving the euro zone financial crisis, early Thursday morning obtained an agreement from banks to take a 50 percent loss on the face value of their Greek debt.
New York Times Oct 07, 2011 Checking Account Wars, Behind the Scenes (Your Money)
QUOTE: So the big banks make you pay, and the most aggressive of the little institutions want to pay you.... Even when nearly everyone had free checking several years ago, however, there were all sorts of questionable activities going on behind the scenes to pay for it.
New York Times Oct 06, 2011 Charging for Debit Cards Is Robbery
QUOTE: When Bank of America told its customers recently that it would start charging them $5 a month to use debit cards, it argued that it was forced to make that change because of regulations that altered the economics of the cards....But the banks’ simplistic statements are merely an attempt to rationalize and obfuscate one of the largest illegal transfers of wealth from consumers to banks in American history.
New York Times Oct 05, 2011 Think Occupy Wall St. is a phase? You don't get it
QUOTE: the reason why some mainstream news journalists and many of the audiences they serve see the Occupy Wall Street protests as incoherent is because the press and the public are themselves...In fact, we are witnessing America's first true Internet-era movement, which -- unlike civil rights protests, labor marches, or even the Obama campaign -- does not take its cue from a charismatic leader, express itself in bumper-sticker-length goals and understand itself as having a particular endpoint.
CNN (Cable News Network) Sep 04, 2011 Ex-Premier Faces Charges for Iceland’s Fiscal Woes
QUOTE: The dust from Iceland’s spectacular financial disaster — the failure of its three biggest banks and then the collapse of its economy in the fall of 2008 — had barely begun to settle when the country set about finding someone to blame... it is pursuing criminal charges against a politician, former Prime Minister Geir Haarde, for his government’s failure to avert the catastrophe.
New York Times Sep 02, 2011 Federal Regulators Sue Big Banks Over Mortgages
QUOTE: A bruising legal fight pitting the country’s most powerful banks against the full force of the United States government began Friday, as federal regulators filed suits against 17 financial institutions that sold the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nearly $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later soured.
New York Times Jul 25, 2011 This Is Considered Punishment? (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: for anyone still hoping for justice in the wake of the financial crisis, the news was hardly encouraging. First, the Fed did not force Wells Fargo to admit guilt — and even let the company issue a press release blaming its wrongdoing on a “relatively small group.” The $85 million fine was a joke; in just the last quarter, Wells Fargo’s revenues exceeded $20 billion.
New York Times Jun 22, 2011 Some Greeks Fear Government Is Selling Nation
QUOTE: “But at these extremely low levels, especially for those companies quoted on the stock exchange, we have to be very wary,” he added. “If we go by today’s values, as a result of the recession and the crisis the country finds itself in, it will be really selling the crown jewels at a pittance of their cost.” Mr. Papandreou’s government has not managed to make a convincing case for the sell-off to many Greeks, where the idea of a fire sale has taken hold, setting off a wave of national indignation.
New York Times Jun 19, 2011 Ugly Details in Selling Newspapers
QUOTE: James O’Shea, the former editor in chief of The Los Angeles Times, found a classic of the genre in the course of reporting out “The Deal From Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers,” his deep dive into the two deals that tipped over the companies that owned, among many other newspapers, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune.
New York Times Jun 14, 2011 Banks Turn to Schumer on Patents
QUOTE: After years of fighting Mr. Ballard at the federal Patent Office, in court and across a negotiating table, the banks went to see one of their best friends in Congress, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who inserted into a patent overhaul bill a provision that appears largely aimed at helping banks rid themselves of the Ballard problem.
New York Times May 11, 2011 Prepaid Cards Subject Jobless to Host of Fees
QUOTE: A report out this week from the National Consumer Law Center lays out a host of ways in which banks nibble away at jobless benefits with fees the center called “junk.”
New York Times Mar 11, 2011 U.S. Inquiry on Military Family Foreclosures
QUOTE: The Justice Department is investigating allegations that a mortgage subsidiary of Morgan Stanley foreclosed on almost two dozen military families from 2006 to 2008 in violation of a longstanding law aimed at preventing such action... As many as 23 military foreclosures were under scrutiny in the Justice Department investigation.
New York Times Mar 10, 2011 Bank Customers Win One (Soon)
QUOTE: In practice, however, banks that receive garnishment orders routinely freeze a customer’s account up to the amount of the debt, even if the account contains protected funds. Unfreezing an account often requires a lawyer and invariably involves delays, which can be devastating for low-income beneficiaries.
New York Times Mar 08, 2011 Bank Chief Rejects Idea of Reducing Home Loans
QUOTE: Showing resistance for the first time against government pressure to write off tens of billions worth of mortgage debt, Bank of America executives said on Tuesday that the idea was unworkable and warned that it would be unfair to borrowers who had managed to stay current on their loans.
New York Times Feb 11, 2011 3 Former IndyMac Executives Are Accused of Fraud
QUOTE: IndyMac’s former chief executive and two former chief financial officers are accused of filing “false and misleading” documents with regulators. The executives, the S.E.C. said, led shareholders to believe that the bank could rebound from months of hefty losses, causing its shareholders to be defrauded in July 2008, when IndyMac’s stock price plummeted and the bank shut its doors.
New York Times Feb 03, 2011 The Ruinous Fiscal Impact of Big Banks
QUOTE: When reckless banks get big enough, their self-destruction ruins the fiscal balance sheet of an entire country.
New York Times Feb 01, 2011 More on Spotting A.T.M. Skimmers
QUOTE: Skimmers applied to card readers are designed to capture debit card magnetic stripe data, while tiny wireless cameras or overlays to existing personal identification number pads are designed to capture PIN information. Once thieves capture such data, they can use it to make fake cards or sell the information on the Internet to others.
New York Times Jan 05, 2011 Microlenders, Honored With Nobel, Are Struggling
QUOTE: microloans have prompted political hostility in Bangladesh, India, Nicaragua and other developing countries....But as with other trumpeted development initiatives that have promised to lift hundreds of millions from poverty, microcredit has struggled to turn rhetoric into tangible success.
New York Times Dec 22, 2010 N.Y. Attorney General Cuomo sues Ernst & Young, alleging Lehman accounting fraud
QUOTE: The big accounting firm Ernst & Young helped Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers conceal its deteriorating financial condition before Lehman's historic collapse, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo charged...
Washington Post Dec 21, 2010 In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks
QUOTE: In an era when millions of homes have received foreclosure notices nationwide, lawsuits detailing bank break-ins like the one at Ms. Ash’s house keep surfacing. And in the wake of the scandal involving shoddy, sometimes illegal paperwork that has buffeted the nation’s biggest banks in recent months, critics say these situations reinforce their claims that the foreclosure process is fundamentally flawed.
New York Times Dec 11, 2010 A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives
QUOTE: Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk. In theory, this group exists to safeguard the integrity of the multitrillion-dollar market. In practice, it also defends the dominance of the big banks.
New York Times Dec 08, 2010 ‘Operation Payback’ Attacks Fell Visa.com (The Lede)
QUOTE: A group of Internet activists took credit for crashing the Visa.com Web site on Wednesday afternoon, hours after they launched a similar attack on MasterCard. The cyber attacks, by activists who call themselves Anonymous, are aimed at punishing companies that have acted to stop the flow of donations to WikiLeaks in recent days. The group explained that its distributed denial of service attacks — in which they essentially flood Web sites site with traffic to slow them down or knock them offline — were part of a broader effort called Operation Payback, which began as a way of punishing companies that attempted to stop Internet file-sharing and movie downloads.
New York Times Dec 07, 2010 The Tactics of Discover Card Reps
QUOTE: lawsuit alleges that Discover Bank and its affiliated processing company made “aggressive, misleading and deceptive” telemarketing calls to sign people up for these products, tricking people to sign up for the add-on products and in some cases, charging consumers for enrollment without agreement from the consumer.
New York Times Oct 28, 2010 On Wall Street: All Reward, No Risk
QUOTE: For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Wall Street bankers, traders and executives get paid so much money year after year for doing jobs that rarely require them to innovate, enlighten or put their own capital at risk, and have the nasty habit of periodically sinking our economy.
New York Times Oct 27, 2010 Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Demand Recourse
QUOTE: As lenders have reviewed tens of thousands of mortgages for errors in recent weeks, more and more homeowners are stepping forward to say that they were victims of bank mistakes — and in many cases, demanding legal recourse.
New York Times Jun 18, 2010 Peddling Relief, Industry Puts Debtors in a Deeper Hole
QUOTE: Consumers rarely emerge from debt settlement programs with their credit card balances eliminated, these critics say, and many wind up worse off, with severely damaged credit, ceaseless threats from collection agents and lawsuits from creditors.
New York Times Jun 16, 2010 Negotiators in Congress to Discuss Rule for Brokers
QUOTE: On the surface, both the brokerage and the financial planning industries appear to agree that advisers of all stripes should be subject to a consistent fiduciary standard. But behind the scenes, the groups are divided on how exactly it will work, while the insurance industry has been opposed to the standard.
New York Times Jun 04, 2010 Student Debt and a Push for Fairness (Your Money)
QUOTE: It’s nearly impossible to get rid of the debt in bankruptcy court, even if it’s a private loan from for-profit lenders like Citibank or the student loan specialist Sallie Mae.
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