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Financial News Stories
Excerpts of Key Financial News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important banking and finance news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These banking and finance news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of banking and finance news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Wells Fargo shareholder lawsuit can proceed, judge rules
2017-10-05, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2017-10-09 02:04:36
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Wells-Fargo-shareholder-lawsuit-can-pr...

Wells Fargo & Co. executives and directors accused of steering the bank into the worst scandal of its modern history were ordered to defend a lawsuit accusing them of profiting from the creation of millions of fake customer accounts. A San Francisco federal judge ruled this week that shareholders can proceed with a suit alleging the company’s top brass “repeatedly and brazenly” failed to serve Wells Fargo’s best interests. He found the complaint properly laid out evidence showing that executives and directors made false statements about the scheme in the bank’s filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The ruling came a day after Sen. Elizabeth Warren ... attacked Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan while he testified before Congress. “You should be fired,” Warren said. “You enabled this fake account scam, you got rich off it, and you tried to cover it up.” Last month, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ... dismissed insider trading claims under California law against Sloan and Wells Fargo Chief Risk Officer Michael Loughlin, as well as former CEO John Stumpf and former head of community banking Carrie Tolstedt. An independent probe commissioned by the bank concluded in April that senior bank managers failed to heed warnings of spreading sales abuses for more than a decade, treating thousands of fired employees as rogues, and then downplayed the mounting terminations as the board began raising questions.

Note: Read more about the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. Steve Glazer, chairman of the California Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, recently compared this bank's actions with the behavior of Enron when its culture of corruption initially came to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Wells Fargo aggressive with consumers, careful with companies
2017-09-12, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2017-09-18 23:58:25
http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Wells-Fargo-aggressive-with-consu...

Wells Fargo’s admission that its employees created up to 3.5 million fraudulent accounts suggests a reckless, out-of-control culture. But the San Francisco banking giant seems to have a split personality of sorts. While branch employees aggressively pressured consumers ... commercial bankers adopted a relatively stingy approach to lending money to companies. That strategy allowed Wells Fargo to avoid the same kind of bad commercial loans that wiped out many banks during the financial crisis a decade ago. Had Wells Fargo applied the same due diligence to consumer banking as it did to commercial banking, the company might have avoided its current troubles. How do we reconcile these reckless/conservative sides of Wells Fargo? For one thing, federal regulators were not exactly keeping a close watch over Wells Fargo’s consumer business. Over the past two decades, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is charged with protecting consumers, issued just 448 enforcement actions against Wells Fargo, even as the bank’s total assets have soared from nearly $200 billion in 1998 ... to $1.85 trillion today. The sheer size ... of the bank allows different divisions to essentially act like separate companies. That means community and commercial operations can boast completely different strategies and methods of compensating employees. In Wells Fargo’s case, branch employees would receive more pay if they hit aggressive sales goals, prompting them to open fraudulent accounts.

Note: Read more about the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. Steve Glazer, chairman of the California Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, recently compared this bank's actions with the behavior of Enron when its culture of corruption initially came to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Wells Fargo charged 570,000 customers for auto insurance they didn’t need
2017-07-28, Washington Post
Posted: 2017-08-06 16:39:22
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2017/07/28/wells-fargo-charge...

Wells Fargo acknowledged Friday that for six years about 570,000 of its customers were charged for auto insurance they didn’t need, potentially driving some to default on their loan and have their cars repossessed. The San Francisco bank said it would start refunding about $80 million, or about $140 each, to customers next month. The revelation quickly sparked a backlash from lawmakers still angry after Wells Fargo admitted last year that thousands of its employees had created millions of fake credit card and bank accounts for customers without their knowledge. “No wonder so many hard-working Americans believe the system is rigged against them in Wall Street’s favor,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, the ranking Democrat on the Banking Committee, said in a statement. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ... renewed her call for the Federal Reserve to force Wells Fargo’s board of directors to resign. “There are surely deep ... problems at a bank when it opens millions of fake customer accounts and charges nearly a million customers for a financial product they don’t need,” Warren said in a statement. “The Wells Fargo Board is ultimately responsible for that failure.” Wells Fargo said the most recent scandal is centered on its auto lending business. Customers’ loan contracts require them to maintain auto insurance and allow the bank to buy it for them if there is no evidence that the customers have a policy, the bank said. But ... customers were being charged for auto insurance premiums even though they already had another policy.

Note: Read more about the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. Steve Glazer, chairman of the California Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, recently compared this bank's actions with the behavior of Enron when its culture of corruption initially came to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why Corrupt Bankers Avoid Jail
2017-07-31, The New Yorker
Posted: 2017-08-06 16:34:25
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/31/why-corrupt-bankers-avoid-jail

In the summer of 2012, a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate released a report. [After] looking into the London-based banking group HSBC, [investigators] discovered that ... the bank had laundered billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels, and violated sanctions. No criminal charges were filed, and no executives or employees were prosecuted. Instead, HSBC pledged to clean up its institutional culture, and to pay a fine of nearly two billion dollars: the equivalent of four weeks’ profit for the bank. In the years since the mortgage crisis of 2008 ... corporate executives have essentially been granted immunity. As recently as 2006, when Enron imploded, such titans as Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay were convicted of conspiracy and fraud. Something has changed in the past decade, however, and federal prosecutions of white-collar crime are now at a twenty-year low. As Jesse Eisinger, a reporter for ProPublica, explains in a new book ... a financial crisis has traditionally been followed by a legal crackdown, because a market contraction reveals all the wishful accounting and outright fraud that were hidden when the going was good. After the mortgage crisis, people in Washington and on Wall Street expected prosecutions. Eisinger reels off a list of potential candidates for criminal charges: Countrywide, Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup, A.I.G., Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley. Although fines were paid ... there were no indictments, no trials, no jail time.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Newly Released Documents Show Government Misled Public on Fannie/Freddie Takeover
2017-07-25, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2017-08-06 16:31:56
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-government-misled-public...

In August 2012, [the US] unilaterally changed the terms of the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The government originally insisted on a 10 percent annual dividend in exchange for what ultimately became a $187 billion rescue. In 2012, the government quietly changed that 10 percent deal to one in which the state simply seized all profits. The press paid almost no attention to this event, [even though] it was one of the most important decisions of the bailout era. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were two of the biggest companies on earth, and held about $5 trillion in mortgage debt. They had gone bust during the crash years. But by the summer of 2012 ... they were about to start making [enormous piles of] money again. The government has always insisted it didn't know this. Officials have insisted that they needed 100 percent of Fannie and Freddie's profits because ... Fannie and Freddie would otherwise be unable to pay back what they owed. But documents just released in a court case show that the government privately believed just the opposite before it made its historic decision. [One key document] concluded that the government would end up getting more through the "revenue sweep" than it would ... if "the 10% [dividend] was still in effect." The documents that came out this week were released in a lawsuit brought by Fannie and Freddie shareholders who believe that the government stole billions of dollars in profits from them.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


College Was Once Free and For the Public Good—What Happened?
2017-07-20, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2017-07-30 19:20:15
http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/college-was-once-free-and-for-the-publ...

Among politicians, college administrators, educators, parents and students, college affordability seems to be seen as a purely financial issue. The roots of the current student debt crisis are neither economic nor financial in origin, but predominantly social. In 2012, more than 44 million Americans were still paying off student loans. And the average graduate in 2016 left college with more than $37,000 in student loan debt. Student loan debt has become the second-largest type of personal debt among Americans. From 1995 to 2015, tuition and fees at 310 national universities ... rose considerably, increasing by nearly 180 percent at private schools and more than 225 percent at public schools. During the 19th century, college education in the United States was offered largely for free. College education was considered a public good. Students who received such an education would put it to use in the betterment of society. The perception of higher education changed dramatically [as] private colleges began to attract more students from upper-class families. In 1927, John D. Rockefeller began campaigning for charging students the full cost it took to educate them. Further, he suggested that students could shoulder such costs through student loans. Tuition - and student loans - thus became commonly accepted aspects of the economics of higher education. If the United States is looking for alternatives to what some would call a failing funding model for college affordability, the solution may lie in looking further back than the current system.

Note: According to former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, the sharply increasing cost of a college education serves to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


How Obama’s Failure To Prosecute Wall Street Set The Stage For Trump’s Win
2017-07-11, Huffington Post
Posted: 2017-07-30 19:17:58
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chickenshit-club_us_5963fcc6e4b005b0fdc7bacb

As president, Barack Obama oversaw a civil rights renaissance. But his failure to prosecute Wall Street executives for causing the collapse of the housing market ushered in an era of populist rage ... according to Jesse Eisinger’s new book, The Chickenshit Club. “If they had, the history of the country would be different,” Eisinger, a veteran financial reporter at ProPublica whose investigation on shady crisis-era Wall Street practices won a Pulitzer Prize, [said]. “There would be a sense of accountability after the crisis, the reforms would be tougher.” The book traces Department of Justice impotence on corporate crime back two decades. Changes to the way the Justice Department treated white collar crime came into sharp relief after the 2007 financial crisis. [A] Corporate Fraud Task Force [created in] 2002 boasted nearly 1,300 fraud convictions by the time Obama replaced it in 2009 with the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The new entity [lacked] the focus or prosecutorial muscle of its predecessor. The first stages of a corporate criminal probe are typically carried out by a law firm hired by the company under investigation. “The great secret to corporate criminal prosecution is that we have privatized and outsourced it to the companies themselves,” Eisinger said. “The company is going to be studiously incurious about following investigative threads that might lead to the CEO or board rooms. Instead, they point the finger at a middle manager or someone expendable, and that’s the person who gets indicted by the general government.”

Note: The revolving door between Washington and Wall Street leads to corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Tax evaders exposed: why the super-rich are even richer than we thought
2017-06-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-06-18 23:47:42
https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-su...

Tax records are invaluable for the study of economic inequality. Graphs published on the World Wealth and Income Database, for example, show just how ... this information can inform the public debate. The top 1% income share is now closely scrutinised by journalists and policymakers. But if the rich dodge taxes more than others, tax records will underestimate inequality. The key data source used in rich countries to study tax evasion is random tax audits – but these audits do not capture tax evasion by the very wealthy. In our recent study, however, we exploited a massive trove of data leaked from HSBC Switzerland, the so-called HSBC files, to fill this gap. We also made use of the Panama Papers, which last year revealed the identity of the shareholders of shell companies created by the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca. Just as with HSBC, this leak is valuable as it can be seen as a random event and involves a prominent provider of offshore financial services. We combined random audits with these new sources of information to shed light on who really evades taxes. The higher one moves up the wealth distribution, the higher the probability of hiding assets. So what are the consequences for inequality? At the very top of the pyramid, it is much greater than previously estimated. In Norway, where the available wealth data is particularly detailed, the super-wealthy appear to be 30% wealthier than previously though. The share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% increases from 8% to 10%.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and financial industry corruption.


Mr. Trump Goes After the Inspectors
2017-06-12, New York Times
Posted: 2017-06-18 23:42:02
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/opinion/mr-trump-goes-after-the-inspectors...

Michael Horowitz, chairman of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, was at a hockey game when he began getting calls from other inspectors general in federal agencies. The inspectors ... were furious. Trump aides had let them know they might be replaced; for the first time ever, a president might fire them en masse. The administration later backed down. But it has continued to undermine the inspectors’ role by failing to hire for open positions and planning to slash the offices’ budgets. Every major federal agency and program has an inspector general ... whose staff investigates cases of wasteful spending, criminal activity, employee misconduct and plain bad management. These are watchdogs with real teeth. Today nearly one-quarter of inspector general offices have either an acting director or no director at all, including the offices at the C.I.A., the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense and the Social Security Administration. Acting directors can be reluctant to make extensive changes ... particularly if they hope to be nominated for a permanent appointment. The inspectors’ offices are deeply affected by the current federal hiring freeze and would be further harmed by the administration’s proposed budget cuts. The budget takes unexplained specific aim at the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, created in part to monitor the $700 billion taxpayer bailout for big banks.

Note: A New York Times article from 2015 states that, "at least 20 investigations across the government that have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Donald Trump exempts 17 senior White House staff including Steve Bannon from ethics rules
2017-06-01, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-06-04 22:54:10
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-white-house-sta...

The White House disclosed Wednesday evening that it has granted ethics waivers to 17 specific appointees who work for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, including four former lobbyists. The waivers exempt the appointees from certain portions of ethics rules aimed at barring potential conflicts of interest. In addition, a blanket waiver was given to all executive office appointees to interact with news organisations. Three of the former lobbyists given waivers to work in the White House serve as staffers to the National Economic Council, headed by former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn. (Cohn himself did not need a waiver because he recuses himself from participating in matters specific to Goldman Sachs, according to a White House official.) His aides that received ethics exemptions include Michael Catanzaro, a domestic energy and environmental policy adviser. Catanzaro was granted permission to work on ... matters of interest to his former energy sector clients, including emissions regulations, clear air standards and renewable fuel standards. Shahira Knight, a White House adviser on tax and retirement policy, received a waiver to participate in a range of tax and financial policy matters. Knight, a former tax lobbyist, served as vice president of Fidelity Investments' public affairs and policy group. Trump's predecessors also issued ethics waivers to appointees who had potential conflicts of interest. The Obama administration handed out at least 66 such exemptions.

Note: Despite the White House's assurances to the contrary, the NEC's Gary Cohn is reportedly spearheading a plan to sell US infrastructure to large financial firms, including his former employer Goldman Sachs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Trump Administration Conflicts Of Interest: How Gary Cohn Could Sell U.S. Infrastructure To Goldman Sachs
2017-05-26, International Business Times
Posted: 2017-05-29 17:00:00
http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/trump-administration-conflicts-inter...

President Donald Trump's administration this week touted an infrastructure plan that would sell off public assets to private financial firms. Leading the White House privatization initiative is Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, who received a $285 million dollar payout upon ... taking a job as the director of Trump’s National Economic Council. As Cohn has led the infrastructure privatization initiative from that perch, Goldman Sachs declared that it continues to look at “new business initiatives” that revolve around taking ownership of public assets, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents. Cohn is spearheading the administration’s infrastructure policy despite a White House official telling Bloomberg News in February that he “will recuse himself from participating in any matter directly involving his former employer.” That pledge seemed at the time to show that Cohn was following ethics rules ... enacted in January. Those rules require federal officials to sign an ethics pledge in which they agree to wait two years before they “participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer.” Those rules, however, empower Trump to waive the restrictions whenever he wants. Whether or not Cohn has received such a waiver remains secret: the administration has not released a list of waivers, and has moved to block federal agencies from disclosing such waivers to federal ethics regulators.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Former Spain central bank chief investigated for failed IPO
2017-02-13, Seattle times/Associated Press
Posted: 2017-04-30 23:24:20
http://www.seattletimes.com/business/former-spain-central-bank-chief-investig...

Spain’s National Court is summoning the former heads of Spain’s central bank and the stock market watchdog to be questioned for failing to stop the disastrous flotation of a savings bank that had to be bailed out. Eight officials, including former Bank of Spain governor Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez and Julio Seguro, the former president of market regulator CNMV, allegedly failed to stop Bankia’s listing in 2011 despite “repeated warnings” the bank was “unviable,” according to an investigation led by the court’s magistrates. Created by merging the assets of seven struggling Spanish banks, Bankia offered shares in an initial public offering in July 2011 and initially reported a profit for the year of 309 million euro ($327 million.) Months later, it amended its statements to show a 3 billion euro loss. The lender was nationalized in 2012 after a rescue that cost Spanish taxpayers around 22 billion euros ($23 billion). Former International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato stepped down as chairman of Bankia at the time of the IPO. Rato since has been investigated in separate, but related cases of alleged corruption. Internal central bank reports made clear the savings bank’s “severe and growing problems of profitability, liquidity and solvency,” a court order issued Monday stated.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Suit: Wells Fargo targeted ‘undocumented immigrants’ for accounts
2017-04-26, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2017-04-30 23:22:32
http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Suit-Wells-Fargo-targeted-undocum...

Wells Fargo branches across the country deliberately targeted “undocumented immigrants” to open savings and checking accounts in order to meet aggressive sales goals, according to court documents. In sworn declarations obtained by ... attorney Joseph Cotchett, former employees describe a scheme in which Spanish-speaking colleagues would visit places they knew were frequented by immigrants (including construction sites and a 7-Eleven), drive them to a branch and persuade them to open an account. Some employees would give the immigrants $10 apiece to start an account. The alleged scheme ... raises fresh questions about whether bank employees merely deceived customers by opening accounts in their names - or further crossed a line. Under federal law, banks must verify the identities of customers. Given Wells Fargo’s well-documented rush to hit sales goals, experts say it’s quite possible that employees did not follow procedures. In any case, targeting immigrants to hit sales goals should have raised red flags. The documents were filed Wednesday as part of a shareholder lawsuit filed ... in San Francisco Superior Court against Wells Fargo’s top executives. Last year, the San Francisco banking giant admitted that thousands of employees created up to 2 million fraudulent accounts in the names of real consumers without their consent. Wells Fargo ultimately fired CEO John Stumpf and paid $185 million in fines.

Note: Read more about the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Extreme Vetting, But Not for Banks
2017-02-03, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2017-02-13 17:36:31
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/extreme-vetting-but-not-for-ban...

Donald Trump, the man who positioned himself as the common man's shield against Wall Street, signed a series of orders today calling for reviews or rollbacks of financial regulations. Before he ordered a review of both the Dodd-Frank Act and the fiduciary rule requiring investment advisors to act in their clients' interests, [Trump met] with leading CEOs, including JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman, and BlackRock's Larry Fink. Former Goldman honcho Gary Cohn [is] Trump's chief economic advisor. It would be hard to put together a group of people less sympathetic to the non-wealthy. The two primary disasters in American history this century ... have been 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis, which cost 8.7 million people their jobs and may have destroyed as much as 45 percent of the world's wealth. The response to 9/11 we know: major military actions all over the world, plus a radical reshaping of our legal structure, with voters embracing warrantless surveillance, a suspension of habeas corpus, even torture. But the crisis response? Basically, we gave trillions of dollars to bail out the very actors who caused the mess. Now ... we've triumphantly put those same actors back in charge. These egomaniacal Wall Street titans want ... to get rid of the fiduciary rule, because they don't think it's anyone's business if they choose to bet against their clients (as Cohn's Goldman famously did), or overcharge them, or otherwise screw them.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Trump Takes Aim At Dodd-Frank, Investor Protections Rule In Executive Action
2017-02-03, NPR
Posted: 2017-02-06 08:30:01
http://www.npr.org/2017/02/03/513224023/trump-to-take-aim-at-dodd-frank-inves...

Trump Takes Aim At Dodd-Frank, Investor Protections Rule In Executive Action
February 3, 2017, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2017/02/03/513224023/trump-to-take-aim-at-dodd-frank-investor...

President Trump signed two directives on Friday, ordering a review of financial industry regulations known as Dodd-Frank and halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. Trump himself made his intentions clear. "Dodd-Frank is a disaster," Trump said. "We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank." These executive actions are the start of a Trump administration effort to reverse or revise financial regulations put in place by the Obama administration. [One] directive will instruct the Treasury secretary to meet with the agencies that oversee the law to identify possible changes. It isn't clear yet how long the review would take, but the official says every aspect of the law will be considered. A second directive would call on the Department of Labor to defer implementation of an Obama-era rule, known as the Fiduciary Rule, requiring financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement planning. The deadline for implementation was supposed to be April. Backers of the rule say it will prevent advisers from gouging customers by selling them inappropriate, high-fee products. This rule has been heavily lobbied. Dodd-Frank, passed in 2010, [was intended] to implement comprehensive safeguards to monitor and regulate financial institutions so their potential failures would not pose a risk to the entire economy.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Wells Fargo is conducting itself like Enron did
2016-12-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2016-12-19 15:32:11
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Wells-Fargo-is-conductin...

San Francisco’s Wells Fargo set up an incentivized system of rewards and punishments for its staff at every level that led to the creation of phony accounts and illicit fees being charged to millions of customers. Yet Wells Fargo ... refused to appear before my state Senate committee last month and has sidestepped federal regulators and inquiries. The last company to conduct itself in such a way before a California legislative committee was Enron. These criminal activities affected up to 2 million accounts - nearly 900,000 in California alone. The financial cost to consumers was in the millions of dollars, and the loss in trust is untold. Wells Fargo knew it had a problem - firing more than 1,000 employees a year for five years is testament to that. Yet, it took no effective steps to stop the fraud. These weren’t just low-level employees. After my staff pressed them, Wells now says that of the 5,300 staff fired for unethical sales practices, 480 were bank branch managers or higher. An untold number of managers continue to work at the bank despite the fact that they engaged in fraudulent behavior. Wells Fargo has begun to make amends by entering into a settlement agreement with local and federal regulators, paying $185 million in fines. It also has retained an outside accounting firm to audit accounts to identify and fully reimburse every customer for any fees associated with an unauthorized account. Wells Fargo must come clean on how pervasive this scheme was.

Note: The above was written by Steve Glazer, chairman of the California Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. Read more about the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


To deal with climate change we need a new financial system
2016-11-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-11-14 18:24:24
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/nov...

When it comes to global warming, we know that the real problem is not just fossil fuels – it is the logic of endless growth. If we don’t keep the global economy growing by at least 3% per year, it plunges into crisis. This ... makes little sense given the limits of our finite planet. Climate change is the most obvious symptom of this contradiction, but we’re also seeing it in the form of deforestation, desertification and mass extinction. Our economic system is incompatible with life on this planet. Debt is the reason the economy has to grow in the first place. Because debt always comes with interest, it grows exponentially. Without growth, debt piles up and eventually triggers an economic crisis. The global economic system runs on money that is itself debt. Instead of letting commercial banks create money by lending it into existence, we could have the state create the money and then spend it into existence. [In] the 1930s ... a group of economists in Chicago proposed [this] as a way of curbing the reckless lending that led to the Great Depression. The Chicago Plan, as it was called, made headlines again in 2012 when progressive IMF economists put it forward as a strategy for preventing the global financial crisis from recurring. This idea is already beginning to gain traction: in the UK, the campaigning group Positive Money has generated momentum around it. The idea has its enemies, of course. If we shift to a positive money system, big banks will no longer have the power to literally make money out of nothing.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and global warming.


UBS whistleblower exposes 'political prostitution' all the way up to President Obama
2016-08-25, International Business Times
Posted: 2016-10-31 18:47:42
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ubs-whistleblower-exposes-political-prostitution-all...

UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, is facing embarrassment over fresh revelations going back to the tax investigation that led to the collapse of Swiss banking secrecy. Two significant events are looming before UBS. The first is the possibility of a public trial in France, featuring UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, concerning historic tax evasion allegedly orchestrated by the bank. The other is the publication ... of Birkenfeld's scathing new book, Lucifer's Banker, which covers his time at UBS. The tax evasion controversy, which was first highlighted in 2005, subsequently involved the US Department of Justice, the State Department and Internal Revenue Service. It was prompted by disclosures made by Birkenfeld that UBS had helped wealthy US citizens evade taxes. In 2009, UBS paid $780m (Ł588m, €693m) to US authorities to avoid prosecution. Birkenfeld served 31 months in prison for one count of conspiracy to abet tax evasion by one of his clients. After he was released he was paid a record $104m by the IRS for helping recover unpaid taxes. However, Birkenfeld has since said that he was systematically prevented from giving testimony in open court – but this may be about to change thanks to the French authorities. Birkenfeld claims the UBS cover­up stretches to the highest levels of the US establishment. He promises four big names will be exposed in his book, [and] claims there was a glaring conflict of interest involving then Senator Barack Obama, which essentially placed him on the UBS payroll.

Note: Read a New York Times article on how this courageous whistleblower managed to beat the system. As a result of Birkenfeld's disclosures, Obama's suspicious ties with UBS were reported in 2010. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


‘Lions Hunting Zebras’: Ex-Wells Fargo Bankers Describe Abuses
2016-10-20, New York Times
Posted: 2016-10-31 18:36:18
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/business/dealbook/lions-hunting-zebras-ex-w...

Mexican immigrants who speak little English. Older adults with memory problems. College students opening their first bank accounts. Small-business owners with several lines of credit. These were some of the customers whom bankers at Wells Fargo, trying to meet steep sales goals and avoid being fired, targeted for unauthorized or unnecessary accounts, according to legal filings and statements from former bank employees. “The analogy I use was that it was like lions hunting zebras,” said Kevin Pham, a former Wells Fargo employee in San Jose, Calif., who saw it happening at the branch where he worked. “They would look for the weakest, the ones that would put up the least resistance.” Wells Fargo would like to close the chapter on the sham account scandal. But lawmakers and regulators say they will not let it go that quickly, and emerging evidence that some victims were among the bank’s most vulnerable customers has given them fresh ammunition. This week, three members of the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, Wells Fargo’s hometown, introduced a resolution calling on the city to cut all financial ties with the bank. They cited both the recent scandal and past cases — particularly the $175 million that Wells Fargo paid in 2012 to settle accusations that its mortgage brokers had discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers. Current and former Wells Fargo employees say the problems continued well into this year.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles.


Leaked emails show what Clinton told executives in private
2016-10-08, PBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2016-10-16 23:06:26
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/emails-clinton-wall-street-private/

Hillary Clinton took nearly every precaution to ensure voters would never know what she told investment bankers, lobbyists and corporate executives in dozens of closed-door paid speeches before running for president. Turns out, the Democratic presidential nominee had good reason to do so. She is ... happy to cut backroom deals with corporate interests and curry favor with Wall Street for campaign dollars. The WikiLeaks organization on Friday posted ... emails obtained in a hack of the Clinton campaign chairman’s personal email account. Among the documents posted online was an internal review of the speeches conducted by campaign aides to survey the political damage her remarks could cause if they ever became public. In what aides calculated were the most damaging passages, she reflects on the necessity of “unsavory” political dealing. To investment bankers from Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, Clinton admits that she’s “kind of far removed” from the middle-class upbringing that she frequently touts on the campaign trail. And in speeches to some of the country’s biggest banks, she highlighted her long ties to Wall Street ... saying that she views the financial industry as a partner in government regulation. In an effort to keep those speeches private, strongly worded contracts prohibited unauthorized recordings, reporters were banned and, in some cases, blog posts about her remarks pulled off websites.

Note: BBC has an article listing 11 intriguing revelations from the recent Wikileaks release. The emails also showed discussion of the Clinton campaign's interest in "elevating" Trump and other 'extreme' Republican candidates to make the party's eventual nominee 'unpalatable'. In 2013 alone, Clinton received $2.3 million for delivering these speeches. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


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