Hand slap for Wells Fargo

Since we’re never going to see the criminal indictments these weasels deserve, would it be too much, in light of current developments, that the president and other administration officials stop throwing in little digs at homeowners for their miniscule role in the massive and systemic mortgage fraud that crashed the economy? I can’t tell you how that makes my blood boil in light on the ongoing rape and pillaging of those unfortunate enough to be holding mortgages with these bastards:

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) — Wells Fargo & Co. was sued by the U.S., which alleged the bank made reckless mortgage loans that defaulted and forced the federal government to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims.

The government seeks damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 for alleged misconduct spanning more than a decade related to the bank’s participation in a Federal Housing Administration program, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in a statement. The complaint was filed today in New York federal court.

“As the complaint alleges, yet another major bank has engaged in a longstanding and reckless trifecta of deficient training, deficient underwriting and deficient disclosure, all while relying on the convenient backstop of government insurance,” Bharara said in the statement.

The suit undermines San Francisco-based Wells Fargo’s reputation as a lender that avoided some of the industry’s worst underwriting practices and threatens to compound the bank’s costs as the government completes probes of the housing bubble’s collapse.

Where does the Post get such lousy, lazy reporters? Just a few months ago (see video), Wells was fined $175 million for steering qualified minority buyers to subprime mortgages. And in 2008, a Louisiana bankruptcy court hit Wells with $3.1 million in punitive damages – for one bad loan. As Yves Smith wrote then:

Wells, as we have pointed out repeatedly, has an annoying habit of piously claiming it is better than other servicers when it engages in the same indefensible conduct as its peers. So if you were to take Wells at its word, the conduct of other servicers is at least as bad as what has taken place in this jurisdiction, if not worse. Remember, servicers are highly routinized operations, so if something, it is almost certain to be standard practice. And Wells has admitted that in this case.

[…] The latest example of Wells bad behavior in Magner’s courtroom that has come to a resolution of sorts is another case of Wells overcharging a borrower. In this suit, Jones v. Wells Fargo, filed in 2007, involved a borrower having to sue Wells to recoup overcharges by Wells plus actual damages, plus a request for punitive damages. The ruling sets forth the sorry history in some detail and I strongly suggest you read it in full.

[…] The word “predatory” is not adequate to describe Wells’ conduct. The bank is not simply willing to steal from consumers, via blatant, institutionalized violations of its own agreements on mortgages and later on bankruptcy plans. It has absolutely no respect for the law, whether it be contracts or court procedures. It’s a band of marauders that our society treats as legitimate because the perpetrators wear suits and can afford to hire lobbyists. And the Federal government and state attorneys general are certain to have emboldened Wells and its brethren by rewarding them rather than treating them like the criminals they are.


In Re Jones

Coming attractions?

Merkel should feel very nervous — she’s turned herself into the most hated woman in Europe. The funny thing is, even the IMf (the FREAKING IMF!!!) calls for government stimulus instead of the extreme austerity demanded by Merkel, and warn of another global slowdown as the result of spending cuts:

POLICE have fired tear gas to disperse protesters attempting to storm a barricade near parliament as tens of thousands of Greeks massed in Athens in a show of anger against German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Vilified for Greece’s punishing spending cuts, Mrs Merkel, the leader of Europe’s paymaster, is on her first visit to the eurozone’s most indebted nation since the debt crisis erupted almost three years ago.

As she met Greek Prime Minister Antonio Samaras, demonstrators gathered just a few blocks away, some brandishing banners reading “You are not welcome, Imperialisten Raus” (Imperialists out)” or “No to the Fourth Reich”.

Two Nazi flags were draped on the steel fence near parliament and set on fire. Sporadic violence also broke out, with small gangs of masked youths throwing bottles at riot police.

Thousands of police were out on the streets and key parts of central Athens were closed off to create a large security zone for Mrs Merkel’s meetings with Mr Samaras and President Carolos Papoulias.

Police said about 25,000 protesters had already streamed on to the central Syntagma Square, which lies outside the lockdown zone.

Merkel is a highly divisive figure and Greeks are understandably angry over her visit:

Three years of grinding austerity in exchange for foreign funding to pay back banks and meet expenses has seen Greece’s gross domestic product shrink 25 percent. Unemployment is now at 50 percent for young people and 24 percent overall. A series of governments has dramatically cut spending without improving the functioning of the state, resulting in cuts to essential services like hospitals.

“In three years they have destroyed a nation,” said Maria Choussakou, 59, a former high school ancient Greek teacher who said she had been forced into early retirement. “We were middle class, now we’re impoverished,” she added.

At the news conference, Ms. Merkel, looking tense, acknowledged the pain Greece was facing after massive spending cuts. But she encouraged the country to continue on its path of structural reforms. “Much has been achieved, much has been demanded of the Greek people, she said. “I am deeply convinced that it’s going to be worthwhile,” she added.

Worthwhile to pay off the banks while people pick through garbage looking for food? What a strange world these people live in.

Yoo hoo, Bucks County

LANGHORNE – Once again Big Bird will take center stage in the 2012 election with Mitt Romney and Rep. Fitzpatrick detractors welcoming the traveling “Bain Worker Bus” to Sesame Place on Wednesday at 5:30pm.

The Bain Worker Bus is a nationwide tour with a contingent of workers from companies owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm Mitt Romney founded and continues to profit from.

The bus will stop in front of Sesame Place, where a crowd of local supporters, including a costumed Big Bird character, will welcome the Bain workers. The Bain workers will be speaking out, along with local unemployed, under-employed and outsourced workers about the dangers of a “Romney Economy” where good jobs are outsourced and minimum wage jobs, with no benefits, remain.

“We know that this election is not about Sesame Street, but it says a lot that politicians like Mitt Romney and Rep. Fitzpatrick would rather end funding for Big Bird than end tax breaks for big oil,” said Earl Williams of Levittown.

WHAT:  Sesame Place Showdown: Big Bird Meets Bain Capital

WHEN:  Wednesday, October 10, 5:30 pm

WHERE:  Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, PA

(in front of the Sesame Place main entrance)

WHO: Big Bird, local community members, Bain workers


HuffPost Live’s Alicia Menendez hosted Heineman, Dr. Erin Martin, Dr. Steven Nissen and Joe Graedon Monday for a discussion of the broken healthcare system.

Graedon, a pharmacologist whose mother died following medical mistakes, blamed overworked doctors for his mother’s death.

“They wanted to put in a stent, she may or may not have needed it, but it led to her death,” he said of his mother. “It led to her death because of a series of mistakes because people were in a hurry.”

Graedon argued that doctors should make a salary rather than be compensated based on how many procedures they do.

“If you think back to the industrial revolution, we had sweat shops and we did away with them because we realized that piecework was inhumane. But that’s what we’re doing to our doctors and our nurses today. It’s piecework,” he said. “They’re getting rewarded for the more they do. If you give children a dollar for every pinecone they pick up, they’ll pick up a lot of pinecones. If you give an interventional cardiologist hundreds of dollars for every stent that he or she puts in, they will do a lot of stents. Doctors need to be paid a salary rather than piecework.”

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