Philip R. Stein

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Alphabet Soup and Data Security

In the span of two days, mobile device users learned of two data breaches that could compromise their personal data. In one, Experian (a credit reporting agency) reported that it was hacked, potentially putting 15 million American consumers’ data at risk. Many of those consumers were T-Mobile customers who needed to submit to a credit … Continue Reading

Banks Get Big Win in Challenge to New York Ordinance

Many big cities in the United States responded to the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis by passing local laws which pressure banks to invest more in low-income neighborhoods. Between 2010 and 2013, cities such as New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Boston, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Pittsburgh all enacted ordinances of this … Continue Reading

Financial Services Companies Seek Larger Payout in Target Data Security Suit

Attorneys for certain banks and other financial institutions that are caught up in Target’s 2013 data breach are objecting to the $67 million deal struck last week between the retailer and Visa Inc. The banks and credit unions are the only plaintiffs left in the data breach litigation after Target paid $10 million in March … Continue Reading

Court Revives Antitrust Suit Against MasterCard, Visa, Three Banks

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit accusing MasterCard, Visa and three major banks of illegally fixing ATM prices to the detriment of consumers. A federal district judge had thrown out the lawsuit in 2013 after finding the plaintiffs failed to show any conspiracy to overcharge consumers. On Tuesday, the federal appeals court in … Continue Reading

Mid-2015 Mortgage Crisis Update – The Repurchase Demands Continue

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aggressively demanded Wall Street and big bank aggregators (“aggregators”) repurchase millions of defaulted and distressed loans, due to purported breaches of representations, warranties and covenants. In the past few years, there have been several blockbuster settlements with the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), such as Citigroup’s 2013 … Continue Reading

CFPB, DOJ Show Renewed Interest in Pursuing “Redlining” Cases

Evidence is mounting that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are taking a renewed interest in investigating possible redlining—the practice of lenders charging certain groups more for products, or altogether excluding minorities within certain geographic areas. There has been a substantial increase in recent months of warnings by government … Continue Reading

Quicken Loans Takes on the DOJ & HUD

Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed mortgage lender, filed suit on Friday, April 17 in the United States District Court in Detroit against the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In the suit, Quicken alleged that it is a target of a probe in … Continue Reading

MBA’s Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance Conference

On Sunday, May 3, 2015, I will serve as a panelist at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance Conference at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers in Chicago, IL. More than 800 attorneys, compliance officers, company executives and government relations associates will convene to discuss the latest regulatory, supervisory, enforcement and litigation issues within the mortgage … Continue Reading

BofA’s Inconsistent Positions

Bank of America recently moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Ambac Assurance Corp. in New York state court, alleging $600 million in damages for fraudulent inducement in connection with payments it made under policies insuring faulty residential mortgage-backed securities issued by Countrywide. In its complaint filed at the end of 2014, Ambac claims that … Continue Reading

Fraud Verdict Against Countrywide & BofA Upheld

BofA’s “hustling” attempt to overturn a $1.27 billion judgment against it and Countrywide—along with the individual defendant identified in the next paragraph, the “Defendants”—in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for fraud in the sale of loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has proved unavailing. Judge Jed Rakoff of … Continue Reading

Huge Settlements Between S&P, Government

2015 is leaving Standard and Poor’s (S&P) quite a bit poorer. Yesterday, the major credit rating agency agreed to pay $1.375 billion to resolve lawsuits brought against it by the U.S. Department of Justice and attorney generals from 19 states and the District of Columbia regarding S&P’s pre-crisis ratings of mortgage-backed securitizations (MBS) and collateralized … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Eases Requirements for Homeowners Rescinding Mortgages

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held in Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. that borrowers exercising their right to rescind mortgages under the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) only need to provide written notice to creditors within three years of the loan being issued, instead of bringing a lawsuit within that period. The high court … Continue Reading

Fighting Back Against CFPB Demands

An increasing number of banks, mortgage lenders, auto finance companies and other financial services industry participants are dealing with inquiries, investigations and actual or threatened legal claims from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other enforcement agencies related to the fairness of their lending, servicing and collection practices. Noting that growing trend, a banking … Continue Reading

Former JPMorgan Chase Insider Blows the Whistle

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone recently profiled the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking in his article, The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare. Alayne Fleischmann, a former Chase manager, revealed the true reason why JPMorganChase settled the claims brought by the DOJ … Continue Reading

Regulators Increase Scrutiny of Wall Street Lending

Federal bank regulatory agencies are significantly increasing their scrutiny of Wall Street bank lending, moving from annual reviews to a system of monthly audits in a major effort to curtail aggressive underwriting practices. Until recently, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) have monitored … Continue Reading

Protecting Your Company Against CFPB Investigations & Investors’ Mortgage Buyback Claims

What are the boundaries of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s authority? How might those boundaries continue to expand in the future? Are there ways that the CFPB can take action against a company even if it does not have true supervisory authority? These are just some of the questions that frustrated and concerned financial institutions … Continue Reading

Servicer’s Error Leads to $16 Million Award

Kate Berry reported in American Banker and SourceMedia’s National Mortgage News on how a $616 servicing error snowballed into a $16 million jury verdict. It was reported that a jury last month awarded $514,000 in compensatory damages and $15.7 million in punitive damages to a California homeowner, who waged a multi-year battle to block a foreclosure by the private-label … Continue Reading

Citigroup Settles with DOJ for $7 Billion

Citigroup announced last week that it will pay $7 billion to end an investigation by the U.S Department of Justice into misconduct related to its mortgage securitization practices. The blockbuster settlement came days before DOJ lawyers were expected to file a lawsuit. $4.5 billion will go towards settling civil claims related to the DOJ probe, … Continue Reading

Buyback and Indemnifications: The New Dangers

On Thursday, July 31, I will be speaking as part of a panel of business professionals during a live webinar about the continuing repurchase and indemnification risk surrounding mortgage buybacks. This panel will assist mortgage professionals in determining where the greatest exposure of risk lies, and will offer some insightful tips on how best to … Continue Reading

Main Street Cashes $3.1 Billion in Checks from Wall Street

With the mortgage crisis almost a decade in the rear-view mirror, some harmed homeowners are just now starting to see reparations for the transgressions of the country’s largest financial institutions. Beginning in January 2013, thirteen banks—including Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo—settled 2011 and 2012 actions instituted by … Continue Reading

Big Banks Argue that Shorter Limitations Period Should Apply to MBS Claims

Recently, the defendants in FDIC as Receiver for Colonial Bank v. Chase Mortgage Finance Group, et al (Civ No. 1:12-cv-06166) filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, asking the court to dismiss as time-barred the securities violations alleged against them by the FDIC.  In light of the Supreme Court’s holding in CTS Corp. v. … Continue Reading
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