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CFPB Arbitration Rule Eliminated by Congress and President

On November 1, President Trump formally did away with a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) arbitration rule that would have given consumers the opportunity to file class actions against banks and other companies in the financial services industry. The CFPB rule was released in July 2017. It sought to prohibit and eliminate bans against class … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Ruling Permits City Lawsuits Against Banks Under FHA to Proceed

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today, in Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami, Case No. 15-1111 that cities may qualify as “aggrieved persons” under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), thus placing them within the “zone of interests” covered by that federal statute.  As such, they are permitted to sue banks for the secondary … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Sides With AmEx, Reversing Lower Court Victory for DOJ

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a highly influential appellate court sitting in New York, on September 26 issued a unanimous ruling with major implications for antitrust and unfair competition laws, the payment card industry, and merchants that accept payments by credit card. The Second Circuit reversed a district court win … Continue Reading

Home Depot Challenges Banks’ Standing to Recover Losses Related to Data Breaches

In the aftermath of major data breaches at deep-pocketed retailers and other businesses, there is typically no shortage of litigants who move quickly to seek compensation from the business at which the breach occurred. But whether the would-be plaintiffs’ claims get very far in court often depends on whether those plaintiffs are individual consumers, or … Continue Reading

Citibank Breaks the Ice with a $23 Million Settlement in LIBOR Class Action

Citibank, N.A. has asked a federal district court to bless its $23 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging a wide-ranging conspiracy among banks to fix yen-denominated London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR) interest rates between 2006 and 2010. The settlement is the first of its kind in the case. The lead plaintiff in the … Continue Reading

Happy Holidays To Our Readers!

As we reflect on 2015, we are especially thankful for all of the connections that we have made this year. We are thankful for our clients, our colleagues, our friends, and all of our readers. Thus, for our holiday video we wanted to focus on the power of relationships because our relationships are the foundation … Continue Reading

Tougher Scrutiny on Cybersecurity at Banks in 2016

Cybersecurity has been a focus as part of bank exams for years. Now the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is increasing its scrutiny of banks’ cybersecurity practices to ensure that the issue is getting appropriate attention from bank executives and boards. Bank regulators are planning to make cybersecurity a higher priority during bank exams as early … 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

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

Freddie Mac’s Index Shows Housing Market Improvement

According to Freddie Mac, things are looking up for the South Florida housing market. The August Multi-Indicator Market Index (MIMI) ratings, released last Friday, awarded the Miami Metro Area a score of 69.2. While Miami is still 11 points shy of an “in range” score, this latest score is 11.43% higher than last August’s score, … Continue Reading

L.A. Sues JPMorgan Over Discriminatory Mortgage Lending Practices

On Friday, May 30, 2014, asserting that “[i]t is axiomatic that banks should not make discriminatory loans”, the City of Los Angeles filed a two-count complaint against JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Federal Court for the Central District of California. Count one of the complaint is brought under the Federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. … Continue Reading

Justice Department Keeps its Distance From Szymoniak Mortgage Fraud Lawsuit

As detailed in an August 2013 Salon article by David Dayen and a September 2013 Bloomberg Businessweek article by Karen Weise, West Palm Beach, Florida homeowner and attorney Lynn Szymoniak helped blow the whistle on widespread fraud in the mortgage industry. Over the past few years, Szymoniak has helped the U.S. government recover millions of dollars from … Continue Reading

SEC “Fearful” of Wall Street Banks

Following the financial crisis, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has received sharp criticism from the public for its seemingly weak enforcement of Wall Street’s too big to fail banks. Surprisingly, this sentiment was recently echoed from within the SEC. James A. Kidney, a retiring SEC trial attorney, no longer muffled by his employment with … Continue Reading

New Bill Poised to Revamp Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Following months of negotiations that involved collaboration between Republicans and Democrats, Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) announced Tuesday that the Senate Banking Committee had reached an agreement on the framework to revamp Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since the financial meltdown, the future of the agencies has largely remained uncertain. A full … Continue Reading

Wells Fargo Gives Subprime Borrowers Another Chance

Wells Fargo has announced that it plans to begin originating FHA-backed loans for borrowers with credit scores as low as 600. This new cut-off is 40 points below Wells Fargo’s current floor, and 20 points below what has traditionally been considered to constitute a “subprime” borrower. After the collapse of the housing market, faced with … Continue Reading

Mortgage Crisis Penalty for the Real Wolves of Wall Street Could Top $50 Billion

The real wolves of Wall Street–sixteen of America’s largest banks–could end up shelling out more than $50 billion to secure settlements from the federal government in connection with their alleged roles in the mortgage crisis. Of this amount, up to $15 billion would go directly to affected homeowners in the form of cash payments and/or … Continue Reading

Bank of America and Freddie Mac Settle Mortgage Loan Claims

Add yet another major settlement to the still-growing list of huge payouts by the nation’s largest banks to settle claims over toxic mortgage-backed securities. Bank of America has now agreed to pay $404 million to Freddie Mac to resolve all repurchase liabilities on home loans that it sold to the government-controlled mortgage company from 2000 … Continue Reading

JPMorgan Chase Agrees to Settle Forced-Placed Insurance Class-Action Lawsuit for $300 Million

Forced-Place Insurance Business Surged Following the Housing Collapse JPMorgan Chase and Assurant Inc. recently agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit initiated in June 2012 for $300 million brought by a class of 1.3 million homeowners nationwide who claimed that they were overcharged for forced-placed insurance. The plaintiffs have also entered into a separate settlement for … Continue Reading

BofA’s Countrywide Found Responsible For Defrauding Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

A federal jury ruled yesterday that Countrywide, now owned by Bank of America, defrauded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by selling them defective mortgages in advance of the great financial crisis of 2008. A former Countrywide executive, Rebecca Mairone, was also found liable in the case. Whistleblower Exposed Countrywide’s “Hustle” Program The Justice Department lawsuit … Continue Reading

Housing Market Largely Escapes Damage From Government Shutdown, For Now

The mortgage market should only be minimally impacted by the recent government shutdown The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight on September 30th as the Congress failed to pass a bill to continue funding the government. The repercussions are many, including preventing 800,000 Americans from getting paid, suspending various government services, and … Continue Reading

A Time for Reflection: the Fifth Anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ Collapse

Obama claims progress has been made Sunday, September 15, 2013, marked the fifth anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. history. It is widely believed that Lehman’s meltdown set off a domino effect that led to the global financial crisis and proved to be a major contributing cause of the housing market collapse. … Continue Reading

DOJ and SEC File Suits Against Bank of America

Civil Lawsuits Filed Stop me if you have heard something like this before.  The Department of Justice announced a civil lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that Bank of America defrauded buyers of mortgage-backed securities by lying about the quality of the home loans involved. The Securities and Exchange Commission also announced a parallel case against BofA. … Continue Reading
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