Tag Archives | Banks

Three Game Changers: Standard Chartered admits fraud, Cyprus, and BRICS Nations discuss proposal to challenge World Bank and IMF

via chycho

The changes that are taking place on the global political landscape are unprecedented. Our recent economic crisis has allowed us to lift the veil on financial institutions revealing their vile business practices that have allowed them to control our governments.

Below you will find three recent significant events that are acting as catalysts to accelerate the inevitable restructuring of the way we do business:

1) Sending a Message for Backpedaling on Settlements: “Earlier this year, John Peace, the chairman of Standard Chartered’s board, spoke at a news conference announcing the bank’s quarterly earnings. He was asked whether any employees would be held responsible for violations of United States laws restricting financial dealings with Iran and other countries that led to settlements with federal and state authorities costing the bank about $667 million. He responded, ‘We had no willful act to avoid sanctions; you know, mistakes are made — clerical errors — and we talked about last year a number of transactions which clearly were clerical errors or mistakes that were made.’

“There is just one big problem with attributing violations to mere ‘clerical errors.’ The deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department specifically provides that no one at Standard Chartered can make ‘any public statement contradicting the acceptance of responsibility’ in the settlement.… Read the rest

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Homeowners Foreclose On Negligent Banks

Via CNN, in areas of the United States hit hardest by foreclosure, turning the tables on banks who turn deadbeat after repossessing homes:

Since the housing bubble burst in Florida five years ago, more than 400,000 borrowers have had their homes foreclosed on by their lenders. But for some, it’s payback time.

Hundreds of homeowners and condo associations are foreclosing on banks that have failed to pay dues and other expenses on the properties they’ve repossessed. When banks foreclose on a home they become responsible for paying fees to the homeowners association — both any unpaid fees going back as far as 12 months and all expenses going forward. In many cases, however, banks are failing to pay, leaving these associations short on cash, according to Miami-based attorney Ben Solomon. Now, homeowners groups are putting liens on the properties until banks pay up and foreclosing on them if they don’t.

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U.S. Goverment Says Drug Cartel-Linked Banking Giant HSBC Is Too Big To Jail

HSBC was fined of $1.9 billion this week for laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. It’s worth noting that for the world’s second largest bank, with trillions in assets, this is equivalent to a littering ticket. The New York Times writes:

It is a dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system. They also have not charged any top HSBC banker in the case, though it boggles the mind that a bank could launder money as HSBC did without anyone in a position of authority making culpable decisions.

When prosecutors choose not to prosecute to the full extent of the law in a case as egregious as this, the law itself is diminished.

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American Banks’ Record-Shattering Crime Spree

The hottest new revenue flow trend in banking is simply stealing money from your customers. Via the Village Voice:

You wouldn’t know it by watching the news or reading the paper, but America’s banks are on the largest crime spree the country has ever known. Let’s go to the highlight reel, shall we?

In July, Wells Fargo paid a $175 million settlement after the feds caught its brokers systematically pushing minority customers into mortgages with higher rates and fees, even though they posed the same credit risks as whites. One study found that Wells Fargo charged Hispanics $2,000 more in what the Justice Department called a “racial surtax.” The bank docked blacks nearly $3,000 extra for their own improper pigmentation.

But despite a colossal civil rights fraud perpetrated against 30,000 customers, the settlement amounted to just .011 percent of the San Francisco bank’s annual income.

Across the country, in Minneapolis, U.S.

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Bank Hackers Deny Being Iranian Agents

In short, to the U.S. government, anything anomalous is an Iranian conspiracy. Wired writes:

A slew of American officials have blamed Iran for attacks on the servers of Bank of America, Well Fargo, HSBC, and other western banks. But the hackers taking credit for the sophisticated distributed denial-of-service strikes say that’s all wrong; they claim they hit the financial institutions because they were pissed off about “The Innocence of Muslims,” the infamous viral video making fun of the Prophet Muhammad. Tehran didn’t have a thing to do with it.

“We are not dependent on any government. We merely wanted to protest against the insulting movie,” people claiming to be part of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters [said].

Some security researchers believed the attacks to be so sophisticated, they could’ve only been pulled off with government help. ”This isn’t consistent with what hacktivists are capable of,” Michael Smith, a security specialist at Akamai, said in September.

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Global Mega-Bank Co-Opts Occupy Movement In New Ad Campaign

The Denmark-based multinational Danske Bank is one of the world's largest, with assets worth about $600 billion. Its new marketing campaign, fascinating in much the same fashion as a train wreck, is based around the slogans "Occupy" and "A New Normal":
The strategy is intended to restore trust in the Bank and ensure that we live up to our new vision of being "Recognised as the most trusted financial partner." In order to reach that objective, we must set new standards for banking operations.
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Shadow Banking Industry Now Worth $76 Trillion

Will unregulated, debt-based financial products destroy the world? Bloomberg reports that the funneling of capital into instruments of so-called “shadow banking” continues to balloon to unimaginably large proportions:

The shadow banking industry has grown to about $67 trillion, leading global regulators to seek more oversight of financial transactions that fall outside traditional oversight. The Financial Stability Board, a global financial policy group comprised of regulators and central bankers, found that shadow banking grew by $41 trillion between 2002 and 2011.

The size of the shadow banking system, which includes the activities of money market funds, monoline insurers and off-balance sheet investment vehicles, “can create systemic risks” and “amplify market reactions when market liquidity is scarce,” the FSB said.

Supervisors consider shadow banking activities to be those that allow banks to carry out business off balance sheets, as well as those which allow investors to bypass lenders and the functions they traditionally fulfill on the markets.

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Banks Forcing Legal Pot Growers to Run Cash-Only Businesses

Picture: Joshua Sandoval (CC)

Even if you’re legally selling marijuana according to the laws of your state, the drug’s federal status may keep banks from doing business with you. Seems like the feds are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to the potential of marijuana as a taxable revenue, but what else is new?

Via NPR:

Voters in Washington and Colorado just approved measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But businesses that want to sell marijuana in those states will face a problem: No bank wants to do business with them.

I called several banks in Washington. I called a local credit union, a tiny bank in the San Juan islands. Everybody said basically the same thing. Even if selling marijuana is legal under state law, it’s still illegal under federal law. And banks and credit unions worry that this could get them in trouble.

So people who want to go into the marijuana business — who want to legally grow, distribute, sell marijuana in the state — are going to have to operate, basically, like drug dealers.

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Greek Magazine Editor Arrested After Publishing List Of Swiss Bank Accounts

The right to free speech trumped by the right of the powerful to keep their Swiss bank accounts a secret, the New York Times reports:

The Greek police arrested and then quickly released the owner and editor of a respected investigative magazine on Sunday morning hours after he published a list of more than 2,000 Greeks who were said to have accounts at a bank in Switzerland, throwing new controversy into a scandal over whether the government is actively pursuing suspected tax cheats.

Mr. Vaxevanis posted a message to his Twitter account early Sunday saying that 15 officers had surrounded the home of a friend with whom he had been staying “like Greek storm troopers in German uniforms.” The Greek news media reported that the charges concerned the violation of the privacy of those on the list.

Mr. Vaxevanis’s arrest raises questions about freedom of the press in a country that frequently reminds its European Union partners that it is the birthplace of democracy.

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What The Bankers Did Next

The U.K.-based Spinwatch has created an eight-minute film on the "private conversations" between government and the banking industry, and the industry's use of lobbying and public relations to attempt to shape consensus reality in the wake of the financial crisis:
‘What The Bankers Did Next…’ takes a look at the government’s close relationship with the finance industry, some of the key players involved, and their efforts to manage public opinion and shut down debate.
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