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Author Archives: ProPublica

ProPublica

Nevada Bitch Slaps Bank of America Over Mortgage Mess

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by Paul Kiel, ProPublica The state of Nevada dramatically expanded its lawsuit against Bank of America today, turning the narrow case it filed late last year into a broadside that targets virtually all aspects of the bank’s mortgage operations. Bank of America has previously denied wrongdoing. The sweeping new suit could have repercussions far beyond Nevada’s borders. It further jeopardizes ... Read More »

CFPB Praised for Openness and Transparency Trying to Be Gutted on Capitol Hill

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Will Innovative New Financial Regulator Be Hobbled Before It Even Starts? by Lois Beckett ProPublica, July 20, 2011, 4:26 p.m. Want to know what people find most confusing about mortgage disclosure documents? Then check out these heat maps created by a new government regulatory agency. The heat maps show two model mortgage forms that the agency posted on its website ... Read More »

Mortgage Industry Hates Borrowers. Not Worth Helping.

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by Lois Beckett, ProPublica, Outgoing Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairwoman Sheila C. Bair’s revealing exit interview by the New York Times’ Joe Nocera has generated plenty of buzz. But while the interview provided a comprehensive look at Bair’s role from 2006 to 2011, what caught our attention was her characterization of the foreclosure crisis. Bair said that the mortgage’s industry’s ... Read More »

Banks Still Foreclosing on Wrong People

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by Paul Kiel, ProPublica Four years into the foreclosure crisis, banks say they’ve made major improvements in how they handle struggling homeowners. They’ve promised, for example, not to foreclose on homeowners who are being considered for mortgage modifications. But that’s still happening. Consider the cases of Laurie Pinkerton and Lisa Peterson. The two women, both Californians and Bank of America ... Read More »

Government to Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase – “You Suck at Loan Modifications.”

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by Paul Kiel ProPublica The Obama administration’s mortgage modification program is more than two years old. From the beginning, it’s been apparent that the participating banks and mortgage servicers were breaking the program’s rules. The administration has long argued it has little power to do anything about it. But now, after millions of homeowners have been rejected, the government has ... Read More »

Banks Lose in Senate Today Over Debit Card Fees

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by Marian Wang ProPublica, What’s arguably been the biggest lobbying brawl so far this year came to a head today in the Senate when lawmakers voted against delaying a controversial element of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. The vote clears the way for the Federal Reserve to set rules that would limit banks’ revenue from debit card fees and cut ... Read More »

Financial Reform Headed Down Wrong Track. Is the OCC That Inept?

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by Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein, ProPublica Early last year, as they weighed whether to bar banks from speculative trading with their own money, congressional staffers turned to a key regulator for advice. The response from Julie Williams, the chief counsel of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, was startling, according to people familiar with the conversations. Williams ... Read More »

Modified Mortgages Still Not Honored By Lenders

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by Paul Kiel ProPublica Chanel Rosario was supposed to be one of the lucky ones. After years of sending and re-sending documents, waiting on hold and attending court hearings to avoid foreclosure on her Staten Island home, she’d finally received a much-needed reduction on her mortgage. Eagerly, she and her husband signed it and mailed it in last September. “We ... Read More »

Flawed Foreclosure Process Investigation Identifies Others Responsible

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by Marian Wang, ProPublica While federal and state officials investigating flawed foreclosures have largely focused on holding the banks accountable and bringing relief to wronged homeowners, officials in a few states have begun targeting the more obscure middlemen of the foreclosure scandal. Prosecutors in California and Illinois have sent subpoenas to Lender Processing Services, one of the largest firms that ... Read More »

Banks Ask Homeowners Facing Foreclosure to Waive Rights

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ProPublica This story was co-published with Slate. A few months ago, Bank of America offered Sergio Cortez of Staten Island, N.Y., the help he desperately needed to stay in his home: a break on his mortgage. Like millions of others, he was facing foreclosure. But there was a catch buried in the fine print. Cortez had to waive any possibility ... Read More »

Lobbyists Battle Debit Card Charges

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ProPublica Controversy over the Fed’s proposed debit card regulations has largely focused on the proposed cap on interchange fees-the fees banks receive from merchants for processing debit transactions. That provision has sparked an all-out lobbying war between merchants who think interchange fees are too high and banks who accuse the government of attempting to fix prices. Even the small banks and ... Read More »

Bank Groups Try to Scare Consumers Using Twitter

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by Marian Wang, ProPublica It’s April 21, and another Dodd-Frank deadline has come and gone. Today was the day the Fed’s regulations on debit card transaction fees, also known as interchange fees, were supposed to be finalized. Hasn’t happened. Controversy over the regulations caused the Fed to postpone finalizing the rules. But that win alone wasn’t enough for the banks, ... Read More »

Lawsuit Reveals How a Middleman Is Blocking Mortgage Modifications for Homeowners

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by Paul Kiel, ProPublica Pamela Jeter of Atlanta, Ga., has been trying to get a mortgage modification for more than two years. She seems like an ideal candidate. She has shown she can stay current with a reduction in her monthly mortgage payments. Everybody would seem to win. Even the investors who ultimately own her loan think she should be ... Read More »

Factchecking Banks’ Dubious Claims on Interchange Fees

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by Marian Wang, ProPublica The banking industry has been busy fighting to defeat or delay a proposal that would cap the interchange fees they collect from merchants when customers pay with debit cards. As we’ve noted, they’ve lobbied extensively, and some banks have warned that they’ll end free checking, end some debit rewards, or place limits on the size of ... Read More »

Behind the Battle Over Hidden Debit Card Fees

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by Marian Wang, ProPublica A provision within the financial reform bill that would regulate debit card transaction fees could be postponed by a year or two following fierce objections from banks. Specifically, banks large and small are objecting to a Fed proposal to limit what are known as interchange fees — the fees they collect from merchants every time a ... Read More »

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