Banking and Finance


Can We Have Bank and Regulator Hearings in California Too?

By Kevin Stein and Sharon Kinlaw

California Reinvestment Coalition and Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley

This morning, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs will hold a hearing: "Improving Financial Institution Supervision: Examining and Addressing Regulatory Capture" to focus on recent, embarrassing revelations (stories here , here, here and here) about the New York Federal Reserve. Senators are concerned that this important bank regulator is not actually fulfilling its supervisory role, and instead has become deferential to the mega-banks it supervises, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and others.

CFPB's New Rules Will Limit Abusive Mortgage Lending and Servicing

By Paulina Gonzalez and Kevin Stein

California Reinvestment Coalition

Last week, new rules created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went into effect to stop predatory mortgage lending and to implement common-sense requirements for loan servicing companies that process mortgage payments and who are supposed to assist homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

Don’t Feel Sorry for JPMorgan Chase

By Richard Eskow

Scandal-tainted megabank JPMorgan Chase is losing legal ground in the wake of its multi-year crime wave (if the term “crime wave” seems harsh, we invite you to review the evidence here, here, and here.) But in the wake of its tentative $13 billion settlement with the federal government, it may be on the verge of winning at least one battle – in the court of public opinion.

Bay Area City Joins Movement Against Predatory Payday Lenders

By Liana Molina and Kyra Kazantzis

Coalition Against Payday Predators

In the face of the state legislature’s inaction on payday reform and growing national visibility on the issue, cities across California are taking steps to rein in payday and other high cost lenders. Earlier this week, the City Council of Sunnyvale voted to restrict the growth of payday lenders by enacting a “cap” on the number of lenders, creating “buffer zones” between lenders, allowing payday lending only in designated areas, and establishing operational standards.

Twenty-Five Ideas for Mayor Garcetti

Peter DreierBy Peter Dreier

Eric Garcetti has enormous potential to be one of L.A.'s great mayors. He is young (just 42), full of energy, experienced in politics and government, passionate about L.A., brimming with policy ideas, compassionate toward the disadvantaged and a great communicator and explainer. I saw many of these traits up-close when I co-taught a course with him at Occidental College in 2000, and have watched him blossom as he joined the City Council and served as its president.

Now he faces the daunting challenges of running America's second-biggest, and most diverse, city.

The IRS's Real Scandal

By Robert Reich

"This systematic abuse cannot be fixed with just one resignation, or two," said David Camp, the Republican chairman of the House tax-writing committee, at an oversight hearing dealing with the IRS. "This is not a personnel problem. This is a problem of the IRS being too large, too intrusive, too abusive."

An Alternative to Austerity? Thousands Say "Tax Wall Street"

By Chuck Idelson
National Nurses United

They came, they danced, they marched, 2,000 people spirited and strong, Robin Hood's merry band of men and women, through the streets of Washington April 20.

Ending up astride a prominent government building, christened with a new name and a naming ceremony. No more U.S. Treasury, now, the banner declared, "The U.S. Treasury. A Citigroup Subsidiary. Jack Lew, Inc., CEO."

"We could end AIDS, reverse climate change, fund jobs and health care. Who do you work for Secretary Lew?" asked Jennifer Flynn, managing director of Health GAP (Global Action Project). "You work for the people, not Wall Street."

Foreclosures Drop 75% Following Passage of Homeowners Bill of Rights

By Rebecca Band

This time last year, hundreds of California families were losing their homes to foreclosure every day. 700,000 families were on the brink of foreclosure, and one-third were underwater in their mortgages, due in large part to shady lending practices that Big Banks employed to rob families of their homes.

But a lot can change in a year, and a new report released this week has found the number of foreclosures in California has dropped dramatically.

Stop Obsessing About the Budget Deficit

By Robert Reich

I wish President Obama and the Democrats would explain to the nation that the federal budget deficit isn't the nation's major economic problem and deficit reduction shouldn't be our major goal. Our problem is lack of good jobs and sufficient growth, and our goal must be to revive both.

Deficit reduction leads us in the opposite direction - away from jobs and growth. The reason the "fiscal cliff" is dangerous (and, yes, I know - it's not really a "cliff" but more like a hill) is because it's too much deficit reduction, too quickly. It would suck too much demand out of the economy.

ACLU Sues Morgan Stanley, Targets Loan Securitizer Over Loan Originator

By David Dayen

The ACLU plans to sue Morgan Stanley on behalf of five named plaintiffs (they will seek class action status), for the investment bank's role in fueling what they view as a discriminatory subprime bubble. In doing so, the ACLU will try to pioneer a new legal strategy, by going after the securitizer of the loans instead of the now-defunct originator.