2011-04-30 "Banksters: Feds and the States Sanction Banks" by Tanya Dennis from the "Post News Group" [East San Francisco Bay Area]
On Wednesday, April 13, the federal government ordered sixteen of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders and servicers reimburse homeowners that were improperly foreclosed upon. The nation’s four largest banks, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan and Chase, were cited. The Feds have directed the banks to hire auditors to determine how many homeowners could have avoided foreclosure in 2009 and 2010. On the state level, Attorney Generals are demanding an end to false affidavits and “robosigning”, and, they want the banks to do more loan modifications and more negotiations with homeowners before foreclosure. Although banks have balked at the idea of principal reduction, the subject was discussed.
Attorney General of Colorado Roy Cooper said he’s heard promises for three years and still sees problems, “That’s why we need an agreement that’s enforceable and that we don’t have just promises.” Cooper is on the right track. Even though Wells Fargo reached an Assurance Agreement with the Attorney General of California in December 2010 to rectify their toxic Pick-a-Pay loans, borrowers who have already been foreclosed upon would only receive $2,600 for the loss of their property, not much compensation for a $300K or $600K home. Pick-a-Pay borrowers currently in negotiations with modifications still must qualify under the same or even more stringent standards set by Wells Fargo, and most are not granted a reduction in principal. Currently Wells Fargo grants 15 to 20% of the modifications that are requested and when they do grant a principal reduction, the most that can be expected is ten or twenty percent.
Not much help when some homes are currently worth 50% less their original value. In a joint report by the Federal Reserve, Office of Thrift Supervision and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Fed’s said it believes that financial penalties are “appropriate” and that it plans to levy fines in the future. All three agencies plan to review foreclosure audits and lenders and servicers have forty-five days to hire auditors. Lenders will also be forced to “remediate all financial injury to borrowers caused by any errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies.” No minimum or maximum dollar amount has been identified. Since 2007, approximately five million homes have been foreclosed upon and 2.4 million primary mortgages were in foreclosure in 2010. Currently two million homeowners are ninety days or more past due and at serious risk of foreclosure. Other lenders and service providers cited by the agencies include: Ally Financial Inc., Aurora Bank, EverBank, HSBC, MetLife Bank, OneWest Bank, PNC, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust Banks, U.S. Bank, Lender Processing Services and MERSCORP.
2011-08-10 "Banksters, Part 3: Voodoo Economics, How the Banks Got All the Power" by Tanya Dennis from the "Post News Group" [East San Francisco Bay Area]
The history of how Big Banks succeeded in accomplishing the greatest transfer of wealth in history from the poor and middle class to the rich began in 1981 with the election of actor Ronald Reagan. President Reagan emphasized low taxes, lowering the top income tax bracket from 70 percent to 28 percent, a decrease in economic regulation, decreased social services spending, high military spending, low interest rates, low inflation and large budget deficits. Despite what many believe, the “Trickle Down” theory accomplished its mission, as it was never intended to help middle income and poor Americans. “Trickle-Down” was intended to help the wealthy and corporate America and was extremely successful in accomplishing that goal. In addition to cutting income taxes, Reagan created a large number of tax loopholes that catered to special corporate and banking interests. His economic policies increased the trade deficit and provided easier ways for companies to “hide” money. In 1980, before Reagan took office, the top 1% of tax filers received 8.45% of the adjusted gross income in America. By 2000 that figure had risen to 20.81%. Utilizing “Voodoo Economics,” Americans were tricked into supporting the idea that freeing up money for the wealthy could somehow benefit the poor and middle class. However, when Reagan did levy tax increases, it fell on low and middle income consumers, in the form of sales and excise levies that Reagan called “user fees” and “revenue-enhancers”. April 14, 1980, Vice-President George W. Bush termed Reagan’s tax cut proposal “economic madness,” and even though he served loyally as Reagan’s Vice President, he was not a Reagan fan. When he won the presidency in 1989, faced with a mushrooming federal deficit of over 200 billion, he reached a deal with congressional Democrats in 1990 to increase taxes violating his campaign promise of “Read my lips, no new taxes”. As a result of deregulation, he was also left with the collapse of hundreds of federal Savings and Loan Associations, costing taxpayers 125 billion in a massive federal bailout. Not learning from the Savings and Loan debacle, President Bill Clinton and Republicans agreed to deregulated the banking industry in 1999, lifting virtually all restraints on the operation of the banking monopoly which dominated America’s financial system. The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 did away with restrictions on the integration of banking, insurance and stock trading imposed by the Glass-Stengail Act of 1933. Under old law, banks, brokerages and insurance companies were barred from entering each other’s industries, and investment banking and commercial banking were separated. The repeal of Glass-Steagail resulted in a wave of mergers surpassing anything ever seen. The act was passed after five years of the best financed campaign of influence-buying ever seen in Washington. Banks spent $300 million on the effort, with Senate Banking Committee Chair Phil Gramm collecting 1.5 million personally. With near-unanimous bipartisan support of the deregulation, Gramm then proceeded to try and gut the Community Reinvestment Act, a 1977 anti-redlining law which required banks to make a certain proportion of their loans in minority and poor neighborhoods. Clinton’s deregulation of the banking industry worsen the position of consumers, allowed banks to create some of the worse mortgage loans on the market and participate in an orgy of speculation, profiteering and outright plundering of assets.
2011-08-17 "Banksters, Part 4: America’s Failed Banking System, The Federal Reserve" by Tanya Dennis from the "Post News Group" [East San Francisco Bay Area]
In 1930, during the Great Depression, no war had ravaged the cities or countryside; we had the best communications, farmlands and businesses; and no pestilence had weakened the population. In 1930 America lacked one thing, an adequate supply of money to carry on trade and commerce.
In 1930, Bankers were the only source of new money and credit and they deliberately refused to loan to industries, stores and farms yet demanded payments on existing loans. The Great Depression occurred because money rapidly disappeared from circulation. Greedy bankers took possession of thousands of farms, homes and businesses, and the people were told “times are hard” and “money is short,” as banks cruelly robbed people of their earnings, their savings and their property.
Our founding fathers, who understood money and God’s law, insisted that the power to “create” money and the power to control it should only be in the hands of the Federal Congress. Our forefathers believed that all citizens should share in the profits since the Federal Congress was the only legislative body subject to citizens at the ballot box. In the hands of “the people” the safe depository of so much profit and so much power would be assured.
In December 1913, with many congressional members home for the holidays, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act. The Federal Reserve Act turned Americas banking system into a private corporation controlled by bankers. The Federal Reserve now operated for the financial gain of the bankers rather than for the public good.
Privatization of the American money system was disastrous. Currently, private, “privileged” people lend us “our” money, accrue profits for themselves by printing “our” money and since 1913 have “created” billions of dollars in money and credit as personal property to lend to “our” government and “our” people with interest.
Since Congress has taken away the government’s authority to “create money”, the government must go to the “creators” who charge the Federal Government interest. To pay, Congress authorizes the Treasury Department to print U.S. Bonds and deliver it to the Federal Reserve Bankers. Government and the American public are indebted to bankers for trillions and trillions of dollars of which the people pay over 100 billion a year in interest with no hope of ever paying off the principal.
It gets worse. The Reserve then uses U.S. Bonds as “assets” to create “reserves” to “create” more “credit” to lend. “Reserve” requirements allow bankers to create $15 billion dollars in new credit for every billion in bonds. The cost to the Federal Reserve to create $15,000 billion dollars is $1,000.00.
In addition to all of this created credit and the vast wealth bankers gain through almost unlimited interest, bankers who control the money takeover corporations by approving or disapproving loans. This depresses the Corporations stock price, the bankers buy large blocks of the stocks at depressed prices, then afterwards approve multi-million dollar loans so the stock rises. Using this method since 1913, the bankers and their agents have purchased in secret or openly almost every large corporation in America. Under the banks control, corporations borrow huge sums from their banks which leaves little dividends, so while the banks reap billions in interest, individual stockholders are left holding the bag.
2011-08-23 "Banksters, Part 5: Wall Street vs. Main Street: What’s Next?" by Tanya Dennis from the "Post News Group" [East San Francisco Bay Area]
Since the recession began, 7 million homes have been foreclosed upon. As one in six people live in poverty and one in seven Americans use food stamps, the elite in Washington D.C. frequently spend $600 or more on one dinner tab at exclusive restaurants. J.P. Morgan projected that they would earn 3.9 billion dollars in 4th quarter earnings, but exceeded their own expectations earning 4.8 billion. There is a wide disparity between Wall Street and Main Street and the gap keeps widening as Washington pays itself through backroom deals that prevent any fundamental change for average Americans.
Treasury Secretary Ben Bernanke speaks of a recovery, but who has truly recovered? The banks recovered by hoarding money and receiving interest on that money while borrowing more money from the Federal Reserve at zero or .25% interest using their cheap money for trading and investment banking. Banks realized even more profits by charging consumers 30% on credit cards; slapping on fees, not negotiating mortgages and refusing to pay decent interest rates on savings or checking accounts.
And while Wall Street and the Banks have all recovered, citizens still cannot find quality jobs while facing banks who feel no responsibility to deal fairly, timely or respectfully. So what’s next? How can Americans stop being indentured servants to the big banks? How can they turn around the recession since self-serving banks, Washington and Wall Street merely pay lip service in regards to solutions? Surprisingly, the answer has been in existence since the founding of our nation. Unfortunately, only one State is following the banking vision of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. In 1919, North Dakota created State Banks, and as a result they are the only state in America that has a stabilized economy while meeting the banking needs of the people and small businesses.
State Banks in North Dakota makes credit available to farms, students and community development at low interest rates. North Dakota is the only state that during this recession is an island of economic stability. Since 2000, North Dakota’s gross domestic product has grown 43%, its wages have risen 34% and its State coffers are healthy with a 1 billion budget surplus. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate of 3.4%. There is a movement to establish state banks in California and thirteen other states. Californians can support AB750, a bill which is currently making its way through the Assembly and Senate.
Google “The joy of public banking: What our state legislators need to know.” In his article, John David states, “Why fight over crumbs when we can all prosper? The way out of a credit crunch is to increase the flow of credit, especially to those who will use it for the public benefit. Instead of selling the future, we need to fund it[…]take America back from multinational Wall Street Banks[…]public banks provide states and municipalities with a way to multiply their revenue and to build and stabilize local economies.”
2011-08-31 "Banksters, Part 6: Crime Without Punishment, 9 Trillion Missing from the Federal Reserve" by Tanya Dennis from the "Post News Group" [East San Francisco Bay Area]
One day before 9/11, on September 10, 2001, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted that “According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions,” That’s $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America.
On January 30, 2005, the United States flew eight billion dollars in cash into Iraq to help stabilize the Iraqi currency. The money promptly disappeared from the basement of the U.S. administrations Coalition Provisional Authority’s basement, and no one in our government knows where it went. There wasn’t much outcry because at the time President Bush was spending 50 billion a year on the war in Iraq.
Next our government pledged seven trillion in bailout money to the big banks. That’s more money than all of America’s major big budget government expenditures combined. Adjusting for the cost of inflation the Marshall Plan cost $115.3 billion; the Louisiana Purchase, $217 billion; Race to the Moon, $237 billion; Saving and Loan Crisis, $256 Billion; Korean War, $454 Billion; The New Deal, $500 billion (estimate); Invasion of Iraq, $597 billion; Vietnam War, $698 billion; NASA, $851.2 billion. A combined total of $3.92 Trillion.
And now history has repeated itself but with astronomical proportions. Nine trillion dollars is currently “missing” from the Federal Reserve. To put things in perspective, if you started at the time of Christ, and spent one million dollars a day for two thousand years you still would not have spent one trillion dollars.
Nine trillion dollars is enough money to totally pay off 90% of America’s mortgages. So how did all this money disappear under the nose of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), established by Congress as an independent oversight authority within the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board)?
Then Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman was asked to appear before the House of Representatives and give an accounting of what happened to 9 trillion in off-balance sheet transactions. The Inspector General is supposed to be responsible for preventing and detecting waste, fraud, and abuse, however Ms Coleman acknowledged that she can’t account for nine trillion of the taxpayer’s money.
Representative Alan Grayson (D-Florida) stated during the hearing that “I am shocked to find out that nobody at the Federal Reserve is keeping track of anything.”
The Federal Reserve also cannot account for the losses on its $2 trillion portfolio. When Grayson asked Coleman, “What about the $1 trillion plus expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet since last September?” Coleman replied, “We have different connotations. We’re actually conducting a fairly high-level review of the various lending facilities collectively.”
In other words Coleman didn’t have a clue. Counting one second at a time, it would take 31,710 years to reach 1 trillion. In total, it is estimated that 15 trillion is missing and unaccounted for from the Federal Reserve. With all this missing money, it’s no wonder America is broke. As for the nine trillion, if citizens remember that the Federal Reserve in 2008 bought 2 trillion dollars worth of toxic mortgages from the banks via their “Toxic Asset Loan Fund” (TALF), I think they’d find a clue.
2011-09-07 "Banksters, Part 7: Dead Banks Walking" by Tanya Dennis from the "Post News Group" [East San Francisco Bay Area]
America’s five largest banks received $1.2 trillion in taxpayer bailout dollars, according to Treasury Secretary Ben Bernanke last week. Unfortunately these banks still face potentially catastrophic losses from exotic investments. If the 1.2 Trillion that the banks received had been lent to homeowners, 1.2 trillion dollars would’ve paid for 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. Rather than save taxpayers, Morgan Stanley (MS), got $107.3 billion, Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion.
Our government provided bailouts despite the fact is that the megabanks are “dead banks walking,” their assets don’t exist and their balance sheets are pure fiction.
Assets of these troubled banks currently total $220 billion, while the FDIC’s deposit-insurance fund has fallen to $13 billion, which means the FDIC has just over two cents of reserves to cover each dollar it is insuring.
And 1.2 Trillion still has not made the banks solvent. Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo Bank, and J.P. Morgan Chase reported that their “current” net loss risks from derivatives, insurance-like bets tied to a loan or other underlying asset, surged to $587 billion as of Dec. 31, 2010. Assets 220 billion, losses $587 billion.
According to researchers Greg Gordon and Kevin G. Hall, “With 12.5 million Americans unemployed and consumer spending in a freefall, fears are rising that a spate of corporate bankruptcies could deliver a crippling blow to major banks. Because of their trading in derivatives, corporate bankruptcies could cause a chain reaction that deprives the banks of hundreds of billions of dollars in insurance they bought on risky debt or forces them to shell out huge sums to cover debt they guaranteed.”
Wall Street’s bonus culture is unhealthy and encourages banker’s destructive behavior. Wall Street’s wizards made billions in bonuses over the years precisely because they took risks that crashed the economy. To put a stop to this financial insanity Americans will soon have to make a choice, either keep the big banks alive or save themselves.
For the last one hundred years, economists have used housing as the benchmark for the economy, yet we have allowed the government and big banks to eat away our society, our economy and our prospects.
The banks’ credit-default swap holdings, with face values in the trillions of dollars, are “a ticking time bomb. Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, a revered financial expert and multi-billionaire ominously warned that derivatives “are dangerous” and he confessed that, “When I read the pages of ‘disclosure’ in (annual reports) of companies that are entangled with these instruments, all I end up knowing is that I don’t know what is going on in their portfolios. And then I reach for some aspirin.”
Gary Kopff, president of Everest Management and an expert witness in shareholder suits against banks, has scrutinized the big banks’ financial reports that several of the big banks’ risks are so large that they are “dead men walking.”
The American people must get off this runaway train. Nationalized Banks or State Public Banks are the sensible choice. Call your political representative and voice your choice.