Saturday, October 13, 2012

In Shadow of Lawsuits, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Profits Surge

Posted By on Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

JP Morgan and Wells Fargo announced a surge in profits Oct. 12, the result of record-low mortgage rates and help from the Federal Reserve.

Wells Fargo's profits increased 23 percent, to $4.7 billion from $3.8 billion last quarter; JP Morgan saw earnings increase by 34 percent to $5.71 billion.

The Federal Reserve is spending $40 billion a month to keep mortgage rates low to encourage Americans to buy homes, which may be benefiting the banks more than buyers, according to the Washington Post.

Both banks, however, are facing several lawsuits: This week, Wells Fargo was served a federal lawsuit for "recklessly issuing mortgages backed by a federal insurance program," and last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a civil lawsuit against JP Morgan over alleged fraud in selling mortgage-backed securities.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's In Your Wallet? Thousands of Capital One Complaints

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Capital One is the least popular credit card in the United States, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The company—the fifth-largest in the U.S.—beat both American Express and JP Morgan Chase in receiving 2,713 complaints in the past 10 months. Consumers complained about billing, collection practices, interest rates and identity theft risks.

American Express had the fewest complaints at 872. JP Morgan and Bank of America logged more than 1,800 complaints each, while Citigroup landed in second place with more than 2,300 complaints.

The newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is working on putting the complaints online in a searchable database, has so far received nearly 17,000 complaints from consumers. Credit card issuers have 15 days to respond to complaints and any complaints that are ignored are tagged in the database.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Study: More Consumer Backlash Over Fees, Poor Service

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Perhaps the greatest volatility in the nation's banking industry is among the lending institutions' customers.

According to a survey out this morning, an increasing number of U.S. customers changed banks last year. The study from J.D. Power and Associates indicated nearly 10 percent of customers of U.S. banks moved their accounts, often after frustration with fees and lack of adequate service.

The defection rate was 9.6 percent, up from 8.7 percent the previous year and 7.7 percent in 2010. More than one-third of those who moved accounts said fees were the chief culprit in looking for a new bank. More than half of customers who cited fees as their No. 1 reason said their bank had also provided poor service.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Report: Bank of America Could Sell Branches in Emergency

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 at 7:13 AM

Bank of America will report its fourth-quarter earnings this Thursday. Investors and federal regulators will be looking for signs as to how the nation's second-largest bank is weathering its financial struggles. During the height of the recession, B of A received significant government bailouts, yet emerged as one of the weaker institutions in its aftermath.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bank of America executives went as far as telling Federal Reserve officials that it could shed branches in some parts of the country if it needed to raise capital in an emergency. The bank has been under pressure to raise capital to absorb its mortgage-related losses.

B of A, which had 5,715 branches at the end of September 2011, has already said it plans to shutter approximately 750 locations during the next few years as part of a broad cost-cutting initiative. Comparatively, Wells Fargo has about 6,300 branches while JPMorgan Chase has approximately 5,500.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dramatic Video Shows Wall Street Protesters Being Arrested

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 5:08 PM

For the last several days, protesters in New York have been voicing their opposition to the current economic system with an attempt to stage a long-range protest occupation of Wall Street. Spearheaded by the magazine Adbusters, they are attempting to bring an Arab Spring style uprising to America and the global financial system, first through an occupation of Wall Street, the center of global finance, and then through a national series of similar social-media organized action.

While many are quick to pass off the protests as nothing special, a recent article in Forbes Magazine is anything but dismissive.

“I don’t think it’s crazy to ask if your CEO is the next Mubarak,” says Gary Hamel, one of business’s most eminent theoreticians of management. “The elites—or managers in companies—no longer control the conversation. This is how insurrections start.”

Says Marc Benioff, CEO of Inc. : “This isn’t just about Arab spring. This is about corporate spring.”

Though the protests were peaceful at the outset, several videos of arrests that just hit the web call into question how long things will remain peaceful.

A loosely-affiliated "Days of Rage" protest is scheduled for the Idaho Statehouse on Saturday, Oct. 1.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

[ Video is no longer available. ]

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Citigroup Breach Compromised 360,000 Accounts

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Citigroup said Thursday that a cyber attack affected almost twice as many accounts as they first thought. Hackers compromised more than 360,000 credit card accounts in May, accessing names, account numbers and contact information.

Citigroup, the nation's third-largest bank, said more than 200,000 new credit cards were issued with a notification letter. The remaining accounts were either inactive or had already received new cards, the bank added.

The bank was the latest target in a growing list of cyber attacks in recent months. Sony, Google and Lockheed Martin have all been hit by hackers this year.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chase, U.S. Bank Customers Warned of E-mail Security Breach

Posted By on Sat, Apr 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Thousands of customers of JP Morgan Chase and U.S. Bank are being notified today that some of their personal information has been compromised. E-mails have been forwarded to consumers, informing them that someone hacked the computer systems at marketing giant Epsilon. Epsilon markets bank products and services for Chase and U.S. Bank via e-mail. Epsilon, whose customers also include Visa, Citibank and various supermarket chains, acknowledged the incident early today.

"On March 30, an incident was detected where a subset of Epsilon clients' customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon's e-mail system," Epsilon said. "The information that obtained was limited to e-mail addresses and/or customer names only."

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

FDIC Mulls Suing Former WAMU Execs

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 9:23 AM

When the former Washington Mutual bank collapsed in September 2008, it was the largest failure of its kind in American financial history.

Massive sub-prime losses resulted in WAMU being seized by the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision. The bank was placed in receivership by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the FDIC, in turn, sold the assets to JP Morgan Chase for $1.8 billion. Overnight, hundreds of WAMU banks, including 22 in Idaho, turned into Chase branches. And the Washington Mutual Building on Capitol Boulevard in Boise, stood as a reminder of the colossal collapse.

Today, the online edition of The Wall Street Journal reported that the FDIC is weighing a $1 billion suit against several former WAMU executives, tying their role to the collapse. The pending legal action has spilled over to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are holding hearings over whether WAMU was prematurely shut. Kerry Killinger, WAMU's former chief executive, testified that his company had been treated unfairly and "should have been given a chance to survive."

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Idaho bank gets bailout

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 12:30 PM

With almost $200 billion in federal bank bailout funds out the door and another $47 billion approved as of Dec. 22, the official U.S. Treasury Department position remains “trust us.”

The Troubled Asset Relief Program, that $700 billion bill that Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed in October, was intended to encourage banks to start extending credit again. But no one has tracked what the banks are doing with the money.

“Each financial institution’s circumstances are different, making comparisons challenging at best, and it is difficult to track where individual dollars flow through an organization,” said Treasury official Neel Kashkari earlier this month, according to, an investigative news site that is tracking bailout funds.

But that ‘s more than Curt Hecker, CEO of Intermountain Community Bancorp, pictured above, is saying.

Hecker, whose Sandpoint-based bank is the only Idaho bank to receive bailout funds to date—$27 million—did not return repeated phone calls to citydesk over the course of a week.
Intermountain, a holding company for Panhandle State Bank, the largest locally owned state bank in Idaho, applied for the TARP money and was approved Nov. 7.

“Our concern in this is what are we getting for the money? There’s no requirement for the banks to lend the money,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, which is researching each of the banks that has taken bailout money.

Panhandle’s original mission was to invest community money back into the local economy. But its holding company, Intermountain, now has branches as far flung as Sandpoint, Nampa and Gooding.

So where’s your TARP money going, Hecker?

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