Alert! Omnibus Spending Bill Favors Wall Street and Wealthy Donors

Dolla dolla bill

Congressional Democrats, in an attempt to prevent another government shutdown this year, may agree to let some troubling provisions into this year’s omnibus spending bill. Among the concessions made to the newly GOP-controlled legislature, the bill would strip critical restrictions on Wall Street under the Dodd-Frank Act. It would also permit a 3-fold increase in the amount of money a […]

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Update – US Banks Still Investing Heavily in Coal

Coal

Banktrack.org released an updated review of various financial institutions’ holdings in dirty coal energy. Green America promoted a scorecard earlier this year outlining the banks that were the strongest supporters of coal extraction and electricity production. The lowest marks went to Wells Fargo (D+), Bank of America (D-), Citi (F) and Chase (F). Of course, each of these banks has […]

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Bank of America Reaches Record Settlement with Justice Department, and Taxpayers Cover the Costs

Over the past year, the Justice Department has reached multiple settlements with the country’s largest financial institutions regarding their involvement in the 2008 financial crisis. JP Morgan Chase forked over $13 billion this past November, Citigroup settled for $7 billion this July, and now Bank of America will pay a record $16.65 to the DOJ. While all of these settlements involved the sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unknowing investors, the recent case is different. Under the guise of providing relief to homeowners who have lost their houses, BofA will actually stick the taxpayer with a bill of up to $5.8 billion for their wrongdoings. The settlement, reached last Thursday, is unique in that it actually allows Bank of America to write-off most of the cost as a tax deduction. Previous settlements with similar large banks contained more restrictions on this practice, but BofA will be able to treat the payment as if it were just another operating cost, for tax purposes. Approximately $5 billion of the grand total is considered a “civil penalty.” Typically, money paid to resolve a civil penalty cannot be written off as a business expense, but a tenth circuit court ruled earlier this month that businesses may write off penalties such as these as a “compensatory cost.” If Bank of America doesn’t try to write off these $5 billion of civil penalties, the other $11.63 billion portion of the settlement will still stick the taxpayer […]

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Greenwashing Alert: US Mega-Banks Rank Poorly on Sustainability Indicators

Talk is Cheap, but Coal Still Fetches a High Price
www.freefoto.com

Greenwashing is prevalent amongst large US banks. In “Ranking the Banks”, a recent report by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and Sustainalytics, seven major US banks were rated on four different indicators relating to sustainability and corporate responsibility. The report ranks the financial institutions and their activities across select “social themes,” including their environmental consciousness, their tendencies to follow […]

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JP Morgan Chase — Accountability Needed!

Banking giant JP Morgan Chase is in the midst of finalizing a settlement with the Justice Department, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the New York State District Attorney regarding its involvement in the 2008 financial crisis. While the exact number remains the subject of much debate, the bank could pay out as much as $13 billion for defrauding investors regarding securities it issued years ago. Based on its acquisition of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual in 2008, JP Morgan is currently the subject of a massive investigation by the federal government into its mortgage lending practices. The two acquired companies were among the largest mortgage lenders in the nation, and they had reached that point largely by offering home loans to individuals with low income, bad or no credit history, or subprime borrowers.  To further complicate the matter, subprime mortgages were then “packaged” into securities and sold to investors at large scales. With hands off regulation from the government, paired with a highly competitive sales culture amongst the issuers of mortgage-backed securities, the subprime industry became too big and fast-paced to control. As we all learned, the bubble was unsustainable; when the bottom dropped out, financial institutions and insurers teetered toward collapse, and the US economy spiraled downward. If Bear Stearns or Washington Mutual had declared bankruptcy in 2008,the economy would have taken an even greater hit than it did. The federal government realized this, and asked JP Morgan […]

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Rep. Waters Is Right: Wall St. Needs to Support Financial Reform

Following the JP Morgan debacle in which $2 billion, no wait, $3 billion has been lost due to risky bets, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) makes the following requests of all financial industry executives in a recent blog posting: Stop undermining the Dodd-Frank legislation Stop pressuring regulators to weaken rules Publicly declare support and full funding for the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission so they can exercise needed oversight She notes that “big banks will fight against regulation, even when it is in their own best interests.” How true….and how dangerous. Leave your big bank today: www.BreakUpWithYourMegaBank.org  

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Yet Another Mega-Bank Debacle…Move Your Money Now!

The latest mega-bank debacle, JP Morgan Chase’s loss of at least $2 billion within several weeks, is yet another example of the problem with banks deemed too big to fail. The nation’s largest financial firm in terms of assets, JP Morgan has fought important banking regulation while it obviously needed tough regulation to protect investors and the health of our economy. Learn more from the Center for Responsive Politics about the bank’s lobbying sums that are in the top tier of its industry. Of course, JP Morgan happily took billions of dollars from the government – our tax payer money – when it needed a bailout. And now this?! Two lawsuits have now been filed inManhattanfederal court against the bank and CEO Jamie Dimon, one by a trust and another by an individual investor. JP Morgan Chase is one of the mega-banks featured in Green America’s Break Up With Your Mega-Bank Tool Kit – available as a free download at www.BreakUpWithYourMegaBank.org.  If you haven’t ended your unhealthy banking relationship with JP Morgan yet – now is the time! Use our website for pointers on ensuring a smooth break-up and for finding a community development bank or credit union whose values you can trust.    

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Shareowners and Diverse Stakeholders Seek Change at BofA

Today is the annual meeting of Bank of America in Charlotte, NC and it’s a lively one – inside and outside the meeting. Concerned shareholders and community groups, labor, environmental activists, foreclosure victims, and others in the 99% have been organizing to make their voices heard by corporate management and by people throughout the nation. Socially responsible shareowners are promoting shareholder resolutions addressing political spending by Bank of America as well as its mortgage lending policies. Several of the big banks face resolutions this spring on their lending policies, as Green America’s Proxy Voting Recommendations highlight. The financial crisis brought on in large part by the greed and misconduct of the mega-banks continues to threaten our nation’s economy as a whole. The role that bailed-out banks are playing continues to endanger our communities – especially low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and communities of color. The big banks’ political contributions and lobbying also continue to erode our democracy. But the public is fighting back and will do so for as long as it takes: http://youtu.be/WWp85MeqEhM    To leave your mega-bank and switch to a community development bank or credit union visit: www.BreakUpWithYourMegaBank.org  

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