Volcker Rule Gets Poor Marks Out of the Box

What is the Volcker rule?  The headlines in the press describe a nebulously defined financial regulation as being the second coming of financial reform  Yet the only thing clear about the Volcker rule is who it is named after, former Federal Reserve chair Paul Volcker.  The Volcker rule was a last minute financial regulation rule in an attempt to stop speculative trading by Wall Street.  It has been politicized, lobbied against, delayed, watered down and modified heavily.

Obama Names Wall Street Defense Attorney to Head the SEC

Will America finally get justice for crimes on Wall Street?  We think not.  Today, President Barack Obama named Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The White House and most of the press are touting her credentials as a former New York Southern District prosecutor.  From the White House press briefing:

Never Ending Stupid Bank Tricks

moneyhatBanks are at it again, as usual, and these latest adventures in fictional finance are off the public radar. Maybe the public has lost their outrage and why the latest news is out of earshot. Maybe people are just exhausted, watching absurdity after outrage coming from these financial institutions and the ones who are supposed to watch them. After all, nothing ever changes. We hear the same song, just a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

They Got Away With It

dojlogoIt there was ever a message from our government, it's this. If someone has enough money and power, they can get away with anything. There will be no consequence and no punishment for the rich and powerful.

Once again, Goldman Sachs gets completely away with it. The Department of Justice, closed the books on pursuing Goldman Sachs. Now this is most interesting, you cannot find the statement, press release, nothing on the DOJ website or anywhere. Some claim the DOJ statement is in Goldman Sachs 10-Q, but no, not there either.

About the only place you can get the DOJ statement, it appears, is ABC News, second hand and not directly uploaded.

Based on the law and evidence as they exist at this time, there is not a viable basis to bring a criminal prosecution with respect to Goldman Sachs or its employees in regard to the allegations set forth in the report.”

Facebook Dot Con Redux

You seriously expected to make money on the Facebook IPO?  Sucker!  Why any regular investor would be believe yet another IPO hype machine after the dot con era is beyond me, but suckered in they were.  Now the lawsuits are flying and we have yet another SEC non-action action that they would look into this.  Just the other day, the SEC let Lehman Brothers completely off the hook. The general lawsuit is described below:

Lift the Veil on Corporate Money in Politics

corp politcs
Originally published by Bloomberg

America today is very different from the country that fought the Revolutionary War and framed the Constitution. Then, it was a nation of farmers; today, it’s a nation of corporations. Most Americans now work for corporations, the largest of which command resources and money on a scale beyond that of many nations.

Yet when it comes to public issues like jobs, the distribution of wealth or even plain old politics, we still talk as we did 200 years ago. Remarkably, too few citizens discuss the effects of corporate behavior on jobs, health care and the economy, even though corporations affect all of these through their influence on elections and the actions of government.

As President Theodore Roosevelt noted in his first annual message to Congress:

Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is therefore our right and our duty to see that they work in harmony with those institutions.

The key to doing this is to hold corporations accountable by ensuring that their activities are made visible.

From the end of World War II until about 1980 -- even through the economic travail of the ’70s, as the U.S. faced the Arab oil embargo, rampant inflation, significant growth in foreign competition and the aftermath of the Vietnam War -- it was generally considered normal for large corporations to acknowledge all of their constituencies.

Who's the Big Bad Wolf Now on Foreclosure Fraud and Abuse?

three pigsWe all know the story of the three little pigs and the big, bad wolf.

Little pig, little pig, let me come in.
No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.
Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.

To date that's been the story of the banks as the big bad wolf, blowing houses down all over America with fraudulent foreclosures, viewing home owners as tasty piglet snacks of profit.

Will we ever see role reversal in this never ending grim tale? Will the big bad wolf finally be our government, blowing down the Banks' house of mortgage and foreclosure fraud? Can the government at least hand Americans just a few bricks at least? It's yet to be seen.

The latest seems to be dueling events. One the one hand, there is a foreclosure fraud settlement in the works for all 50 States, which supposedly gives banks immunity and waves all future legal actions. Yet at the same time, the New York Attorney General filed a civil fraud lawsuit against three major banks over MERS.

Fannie & Freddie Executives Sued by SEC

nunrulerThe SEC had sued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives with securities fraud, three years after the fact. The fraud charges are about lying to investors over subprime loans.

They knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans.

This is a civil case, not a criminal one. Most interesting while going after some ex-executives the SEC lets Fannie and Freddie off the hook. Nothing happens to the two GSEs now.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with the Commission in which each company agreed to accept responsibility for its conduct and not dispute, contest, or contradict the contents of an agreed-upon Statement of Facts without admitting nor denying liability. Each also agreed to cooperate with the Commission's litigation against the former executives.

The case is being filed in New York State and the three former executives from Fannie Mae are Chief Executive Officer Daniel H. Mudd, former Chief Risk Officer Enrico Dallavecchia, and former Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae's Single Family Mortgage business, Thomas A. Lund.

Freddie Macs sacrificial lambs are Chairman of the Board and CEO Richard F. Syron, former Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Patricia L. Cook, and former Executive Vice President for the Single Family Guarantee business Donald J. Bisenius.