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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.


American billionaires got $434 billion richer during the pandemic
2020-05-21, CNBC News
Posted: 2020-05-25 00:05:23
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/21/american-billionaires-got-434-billion-richer-...

America’s billionaires saw their fortunes soar by $434 billion during the U.S. lockdown between mid-March and mid-May, according to a new report. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had the biggest gains, with Bezos adding $34.6 billion to his wealth and Zuckerberg adding $25 billion. The billionaire gains highlight how the coronavirus pandemic has rewarded the largest and most tech-focused companies, even as the economy and labor force grapples with the worst economic crisis in recent history. According to the report, the net worth of America’s billionaires grew 15% during the two-month period, to $3.382 trillion from $2.948 trillion. The biggest gains were at the top of the billionaire pyramid, with the richest five billionaires -- Bezos, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison -- seeing combined wealth gains of $76 billion. Elon Musk had among the largest percentage gain of billionaires during the two months, seeing his net worth jump by 48% in the two months to $36 billion. Zuckerberg was close behind, seeing his wealth surge by 46% in the two months, to $80 billion. Bezos’ wealth increased by 31% to $147 billion. Because the study timeline captures the stock market bottom and quick rebound, it creates a slightly sunnier picture for billionaires than the full year. For the year, Buffett’s wealth has declined by $20 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, while Gates is down by $4.3 billion. For the year, Jeff Bezos has gained $35.5 billion while Zuckerberg is up by $9 billion.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


Your Stimulus Check Could Be Seized By Your Own Bank
2020-04-14, Forbes
Posted: 2020-04-26 21:25:10
https://www.forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2020/04/14/your-stimulus-check-co...

Stimulus checks are right now being sent to millions of Americans in a desperate bid to offset the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The stimulus checks are being wired to eligible people's bank accounts with some 50 million to 70 million of them expected to appear in accounts tomorrow. However, Congress did not exempt the CARES Act stimulus checks from private debt collection and Bank of America, Citibank, and U.S. Bank have not ruled out using payments to offset outstanding debts. The Treasury Department last week appeared to green light banks to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to collect prior debt, it has been reported by The American Prospect magazine, citing leaked audio from a meeting with bank officials. Bank of America, Citibank, and U.S. Bank failed to clarify their position on whether stimulus checks would be used to pay off outstanding debts, with JPMorgan Chase confirming it would return the money to the government so the recipient can get the full benefit of the stimulus and Wells Fargo promising it won't use the stimulus checks to pay down negative balances. The report has caused frustration among the progressive financial community. "Money should be harder to seize," Neeraj Agrawal of cryptocurrency policy think tank Coincentre said. An early draft stimulus bill put together by the U.S. Democratic Party did include a provision for a so-called digital dollar that would have allowed the stimulus checks to bypass bank accounts ... but it was cut from the final bill.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.


Shame on big banks for failing to step up at a critical moment: the Covid-19 pandemic
2020-04-08, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2020-04-26 21:23:29
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/08/big-banks-coronavirus-critic...

Our government, in order to save millions of small businesses that face financial ruin caused by forced closings and “shelter-in-place” orders, has approved $350bn to aid those flailing businesses. In order to get this money to as many businesses as fast as possible, the government decides to ... lean on the already established Small Business Administration (SBA) and its vast network of member banks. They do this with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was part of a $2.2tn stimulus bill. “Just loan these desperate small businesses money,” the government tells these banks. “We’ll guarantee it, and even forgive it.” Some banks – particularly smaller, independent banks ... were the first to process loan applications for their struggling small business customers last Friday when the SBA opened their loan window. And then there’s Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other large banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup who have all said “not so fast”. These banks last week, at such a critical moment, gathered together and decided to slow things down. They limited loans only to customers and credit card holders. They came up with “new” lending requirements and asked for more documentation over and above SBA guidelines. They capped the amount of loans they would make. Choosing to only favor customers over everyone else, requiring excessive documentation or capping loans was a bad and misguided decision. Not being more proactive in the weeks they had to prepare was poor planning.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.


With working Americans' survival at stake, the US is bailing out the richest
2020-04-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2020-04-20 02:23:42
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/13/with-working-americans-...

Amid a humanitarian crisis compounded by mass layoffs and collapsing economic activity, the last course our legislators should be following is the one they appear to be on right now: bailing out shareholders and executives who, while enriching themselves, spent the past decade pushing business corporations to the edge of insolvency. The $500bn dollars of public money that Congress’s relief bill provides will be used for a corporate bailout, with the only oversight in the hands of an independent council similar to the one used in the 2008 financial crisis. While that body was able to report misuses of taxpayer money, it could do nothing to stop them. As currently structured, there is nothing to keep this bailout from, like its predecessor, putting cash directly into the hands of those at the top rather than into the hands of workers. Without strong regulation and accountability, asking corporations to preserve jobs with these funds will be nothing more than a simple suggestion, leaving millions of everyday Americans in financial peril. If not properly managed, this economic disaster has the potential to be the worst in American history. Our country cannot allow a small number of executives and shareholders to profit from taxpayer funds that we have injected into these corporations for reasons of pure emergency. We need to stop this rot at the core of our economic system and realign the priorities of government with those of workers and consumers.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.


Just Use ‘the Computer’ at the Fed to Give People More Money
2020-03-21, New York Times
Posted: 2020-04-20 02:21:38
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/opinion/-coronavirus-stimulus-trillion.html

When this public health crisis first morphed into a financial one as well, the Federal Reserve sprang into action, pouring trillions of dollars into the financial system in less than a week; providing short-term loans to banks; slashing a key interest rate virtually to zero; announcing that the Fed would begin buying $700 billion worth of U.S. government bonds and mortgage-backed securities. The Fed gave itself the authority to purchase up to $1 trillion in commercial paper to support the flow of credit. An eight-second video from 2009 [shows] Ben Bernanke, the Fed chair at the time, explaining how the central bank comes up with the money to pull off these trillion-dollar maneuvers. “It’s not tax money,” Mr. Bernanke explained on “60 Minutes.” “We simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account.” Heads exploded. Many people replying to the tweet complained that we’re ... coming to the rescue of Wall Street instead of Main Street. “If the Fed can do this for the banks,” they wondered, “why can’t we find the money to pay for programs that would improve life for everyday Americans?” When called upon, the same computer that works for large banks is there for Main Street as well. But the Federal Reserve needs specific instructions before typing up dollars for the rest of us. Those instructions come in the form of legislation: When a bill becomes a law, the government is, in essence, telling the Fed how many dollars it is ordering up.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on banking corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.


The Fed’s Cure Risks Being Worse Than the Disease
2020-03-29, Washington Post
Posted: 2020-04-07 01:16:21
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/the-feds-cure-risks...

The economic debate of the day centers on whether the cure of an economic shutdown is worse than the disease of the virus. Similarly, we need to ask if the cure of the Federal Reserve getting so deeply into corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, commercial paper, and exchange-traded funds is worse than the disease seizing financial markets. It may be. In just these past few weeks, the Fed has cut rates by 150 basis points to near zero and run through its entire 2008 crisis handbook. That wasn’t enough to calm markets, though — so the central bank also announced $1 trillion a day in repurchase agreements and unlimited quantitative easing, which includes a hard-to-understand $625 billion of bond buying a week going forward. At this rate, the Fed will own two-thirds of the Treasury market in a year. But it’s the alphabet soup of new programs that deserve special consideration, as they could have profound long-term consequences. The federal government is nationalizing large swaths of the financial markets. The Fed is providing the money to do it. If these acronym programs were abused ... they might indeed force markets higher than valuation warrants. But it would come with a heavy price. Investors would be deprived of the necessary market signals that freely traded capital markets offer to aid in the efficient allocation of capital. Malinvestment would be rampant. It also could force private sector players to leave as the government’s heavy hand makes operating in “controlled” markets uneconomic.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic and financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


As Congress Pushes a $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, the “How Will You Pay For It?” Question Is Tossed in the Trash
2020-03-27, The Intercept
Posted: 2020-04-06 20:42:32
https://theintercept.com/2020/03/27/coronavirus-stimulus-package-spending/

How was Congress able to come up with $2 trillion so quickly? Where is the money coming from? On Friday, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi ... waved away that question, preparing to rubber-stamp a $2 trillion Senate package aimed at staving off economic collapse. The details of the legislation — particularly the $500 billion, strings-optional corporate slush fund — may be shameful ... but the moment is instructive ... as it became clear that concerns about deficits and revenue had evaporated. Congress has ignored millions of people who have existed in a state of crisis for decades. The people of Flint, Michigan, (and elsewhere) still do not have safe drinking water. Millions of kids go hungry each day. There has been no multitrillion-dollar spending bill to combat these and other domestic emergencies. Instead, lawmakers have deprived communities of critical investments that could have attenuated their emergencies, often hiding behind the excuse that there isn’t enough money in the budget to deal with problems like these. Congress is doing now what it could always have done. Uncle Sam can’t run out of dollars. The U.S. government is the issuer of our currency — the U.S. dollar — which means that ... it can never find itself in a situation in which it has bills coming due that it can’t afford to pay. If the votes are there, the money can always be made available. When all of this is behind us, to the extent that it ever can be, let’s not forget what we’ve learned.

Note: The entire article at the link above raises important questions about why Congress hasn't made more money available in the past for much needed support of a variety of important programs. The author, Stephanie Kelton, served as the chief economist for Democrats on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on banking and financial corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.


Banks Pressure Health Care Firms to Raise Prices on Critical Drugs, Medical Supplies for Coronavirus
2020-03-19, The Intercept
Posted: 2020-03-30 02:11:47
https://theintercept.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-vaccine-medical-supplies-pric...

Investment bankers have pressed health care companies on the front lines of fighting the novel coronavirus, including drug firms developing experimental treatments and medical supply firms, to consider ways that they can profit from the crisis. The largest voices in the health care industry stand to gain from billions of dollars in emergency spending on the pandemic, as do the bankers and investors who invest in health care companies. Over the past few weeks, investment bankers have been candid on investor calls and during health care conferences about the opportunity to raise drug prices. Executives joked about using the attention on Covid-19 to dodge public pressure on the opioid crisis. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar previously served as president of the U.S. division of drug giant Eli Lilly and on the board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug lobby group. During a congressional hearing ... Azar rejected the notion that any vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 should be set at an affordable price. “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” said Azar. “The priority is to get vaccines and therapeutics. Price controls won’t get us there.” The initial $8.3 billion coronavirus spending bill passed in early March ... contained a provision that prevents the government from delaying the introduction of any new pharmaceutical to address the crisis over affordability concerns. The legislative text was shaped, according to reports, by industry lobbyists.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Federal Reserve to lend additional $1 trillion a day to large banks
2020-03-20, PBS News Hour
Posted: 2020-03-21 22:53:31
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/federal-reserve-to-lend-additional-1-tri...

The Federal Reserve moved with unprecedented force and speed Friday to pump huge amounts of cash into the financial system to ease disruptions that have escalated since the viral outbreak. The New York Federal Reserve Bank said it will offer $1 trillion of overnight loans a day through the end of this month to large banks. That is in addition to $1 trillion in 14-day loans it is offering every week. Wall Street analysts say the huge number is intended to calm markets by demonstrating that the Fed’s ability to lend short-term is nearly unlimited. The Fed is also buying Treasury bonds at a furious pace, and will soon run through the $500 billion in purchases it announced on Sunday. It is also accelerating its purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Most analysts expect they will buy more. All the Fed’s emergency steps are intended to pump cash into a financial system that has seen a spike in demand for dollars. Steven Friedman, a former economist at the New York Fed, [said] “The Fed is trying to play the role of shock absorber.” “They’ve effectively thrown the kitchen sink at the markets and the economy,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, senior U.S. rates strategist for TD Securities. Also Friday, the Fed said it would expand its currency exchanges with five central banks. The Fed provides dollars to overseas central banks because some business is conducted overseas in dollars and foreign banks also provide dollar-denominated loans to their customers.

Note: Take $1 trillion and divide it by the U.S. population of 330 million and you find that this amount is equivalent to $3,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US. And that is what the Fed is lending every day. Where is all this money coming from, and why is it going to the banks? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Information Center.


The Price of Wells Fargo’s Fake Account Scandal Grows by $3 Billion
2020-01-21, New York Times
Posted: 2020-03-03 02:00:28
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/21/business/wells-fargo-settlement.html

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $3 billion to settle criminal charges and a civil action stemming from its widespread mistreatment of customers in its community bank over a 14-year period, the Justice Department announced on Friday. From 2002 to 2016, employees used fraud to meet impossible sales goals. They opened millions of accounts in customers’ names without their knowledge, signed unwitting account holders up for credit cards and bill payment programs, created fake personal identification numbers, forged signatures and even secretly transferred customers’ money. In court papers, prosecutors described a pressure-cooker environment at the bank, where low-level employees were squeezed tighter and tighter each year by sales goals that senior executives methodically raised, ignoring signs that they were unrealistic. Part of Friday’s deal ... is a deferred prosecution agreement, a pact that could expose the bank to charges if it engages in new criminal activity. During the final five years of abuse, the bank quietly fired thousands of employees for falsifying records in response to customer complaints. The practices covered by the settlement ... are not the only misbehavior the bank has revealed since 2016. The bank has also admitted it charged mortgage customers unnecessary fees and forced auto loan borrowers to buy insurance they did not need. The mortgage and auto loan claims are not part of Friday’s deal. Wells Fargo’s profits last year totaled nearly $20 billion.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


The Golden Age Of White Collar Crime
2020-02-10, Huffington Post
Posted: 2020-02-23 01:26:02
https://www.huffpost.com/highline/article/white-collar-crime/

The criminal justice system has given up all pretense that the crimes of the wealthy are worth taking seriously. In January 2019, white-collar prosecutions fell to their lowest level since researchers started tracking them in 1998. Since 2015, criminal penalties levied by the Justice Department have fallen from $3.6 billion to roughly $110 million. Illicit profits seized by the Securities and Exchange Commission have reportedly dropped by more than half. In 2018, a year when nearly 19,000 people were sentenced in federal court for drug crimes alone, prosecutors convicted just 37 corporate criminals. Tax evasion ... siphons up to 10,000 times more money out of the U.S. economy every year than bank robberies. In 2017, researchers estimated that fraud by America’s largest corporations cost Americans up to $360 billion annually between 1996 and 2004. That’s roughly two decades’ worth of street crime every single year. Over the last four decades, the agencies responsible for investigating elite and white-collar crime ... have seen their enforcement divisions starved into irrelevance. More than a third of the FBI investigators who patrol Wall Street were reassigned between 2001 and 2008. Even though auditing millionaires and billionaires is one of the most cost-effective government activities imaginable—an independent report estimated in 2014 that it yielded up to $4,545 in recovered revenue per hour of staff time—the IRS investigated the returns of just 3 percent of American millionaires in 2017.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


How a Chase Bank Chairman Helped the Deposed Shah of Iran Enter the U.S.
2019-12-29, New York Times
Posted: 2020-02-23 01:16:40
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/29/world/middleeast/shah-iran-chase-papers.html

40 years ago, a worn-out white Gulfstream II jet descended over Fort Lauderdale, Fla., carrying a regal but sickly passenger almost no one was expecting. Aboard were a Republican political operative, a retinue of Iranian military officers ... and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the newly deposed shah of Iran. The only one waiting to receive the deposed monarch was a senior executive of Chase Manhattan Bank, which had not only lobbied the White House to admit the former shah but had arranged visas for his entourage. Less than two weeks later, on Nov. 4, 1979, vowing revenge for the admission of the shah to the United States, revolutionary Iranian students seized the American Embassy in Tehran and then held more than 50 Americans — and Washington — hostage for 444 days. The shah, Washington’s closest ally in the Persian Gulf, had fled Tehran in January 1979. The shah sought refuge in America. But President Jimmy Carter ... refused him entry for the first 10 months of his exile. Chase Manhattan Bank and its well-connected chairman worked behind the scenes to persuade the Carter administration to admit the shah, one of the bank’s most profitable clients. For Mr. Carter, for the United States and for the Middle East it was an incendiary decision. The ensuing hostage crisis enabled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to consolidate his theocratic rule, started a four-decade conflict between Washington and Tehran ... and helped Ronald Reagan take the White House.

Note: More information is available in this 1991 New York Times article and this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Former Wells Fargo CEO fined $17.5 million for sales scandal
2020-01-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2020-02-04 02:03:45
https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Former-Wells-Fargo-CEO-fined-17-...

Federal regulators have slapped former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf with a $17.5 million fine for his role in the bank’s sales practices scandal. Stumpf also accepted a lifetime ban from the banking industry. Along with its fine against Stumpf, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Thursday it is suing five other former Wells Fargo executives for a combined total of $37.5 million. This is the first time regulators have punitively punished individual executives for Wells Fargo’s wrongdoing. The San Francisco-based bank has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and penalties for encouraging employees to open up millions of fake accounts in order to meet unrealistic sales goals. As part of their settlements and lawsuits against these Wells’ executives, regulators seek to ban all of them from ever working in the banking industry again. “The root cause of the sales practices misconduct problem was the Community Bank’s business model, which imposed intentionally unreasonable sales goals and unreasonable pressure on its employees to meet those goals and fostered an atmosphere that perpetuated improper and illegal conduct,” the OCC said in its complaint. “Community Bank management intimidated and badgered employees to meet unattainable sales goals year after year, including by monitoring employees daily or hourly and reporting their sales performance to their managers, subjecting employees to hazing-like abuse, and ... terminating employees for failure to meet the goals.”

Note: Though it's great that someone has finally been fined at Wells Fargo, a small time robber gets locked up in jail for years. Why aren't these people who were the cause of huge white collar crime being jailed? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


Another Housing Crisis Ahead? New Book, 'Homewreckers,' Says It Could Happen
2019-10-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2020-01-06 18:06:08
https://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Another-Housing-Crisis-Ahead-New-Bo...

More than 10 years after the housing crash that devastated the economy, people are still debating just what happened. Although the economy and the housing market have made a comeback, homeownership remains low. Aaron Glantz, a prize-winning investigative journalist ... set out to explain why, in "Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream." Eight million Americans lost their homes in the bust. Where did those homes go? Those houses didn’t just disappear. Who won, when everyone else lost? The people who won - a small group of businessmen who pounced to seize thousands of homes and made billions of dollars - they’re the “homewreckers.” But even though the housing bust is over, the nation’s homeownership rate is at its lowest in 50 years, and continues to go down. It helps explain why people feel so uneasy. As long as the unemployment rate is low and people have jobs and they can afford rents, the financial market is secure. If people lose their jobs, what’s going to happen? We could be back in another housing bust. Right now there’s a real crisis of affordability. People think we don’t have enough inventory because we haven’t built enough houses. Only 10 years ago, our country was awash in real estate. We have to ask ourselves if we really have a housing shortage, or if we have rigged the market so it only benefits a few of the players.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.


Two Histories of Financiers Profiting From Real Estate While Homeowners Go Belly Up
2019-10-31, New York Times
Posted: 2019-12-16 03:05:19
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/books/review-homewreckers-aaron-glantz-rac...

In “Homewreckers,” his new book about the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, [Aaron] Glantz skillfully tells a bigger story about American housing that’s tortuous, confounding and ultimately enraging. Along with “Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership,” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “Homewreckers” shows what happens when private speculators get buoyed by government largess while non-tycoons are largely left to fend for themselves. After the housing bubble burst, the government was desperate to get lending banks off its books, and so it offered a sweet deal to prospective buyers of the banks: Those private investors could keep the gains on any loans held by the bank, but if the loans lost money, the government would bear most of the cost. It was like a mutant version of the subprime bubble that led to the financial crisis: Rather than renegotiate the loans, the new owners of these lending banks found there was more money to be made in foreclosing on the properties and becoming “a class of landlord that had never been seen before,” charging rent and fees to tenants — not infrequently the previous owners who were foreclosed on — while hoarding the equity for themselves. Corporate landlords ... are also more likely to buy properties in neighborhoods with large concentrations of African-American and Latino residents, who end up paying “higher and higher rents that ultimately transfer wealth from their communities to investors far away.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


California Just Legalized Public Banks. Will the Rest of the Nation Follow Suit?
2019-10-03, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2019-10-14 23:28:55
https://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/california-public-banking-law-20191003

The Standing Rock movement in 2016 brought together Indigenous activists from across the nation to fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. One of the demands of this movement included divestment from Wells Fargo, a bank that was funding development of the pipeline. This brought into the spotlight ... big for-profit banks that the government uses to invest public money into Wall Street, rather than local communities. Some of those investments include the fossil fuel industry, private prisons, immigrant detention centers, and more. The divestment movement is mostly about getting those government investments ... out of the big banks. The question then becomes where to put them. Some ... say the answer is public banking. In September, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 857, a law that would allow a regulatory framework for public banking in the state. This would allow the establishment of banks that hold the government’s money and include socially responsible charters. Debbie Notkin, who works with the California Public Banking Alliance, says that by law, all corporations, which includes private banks, are legally obligated to maximize profit. Public banks are not held to this expectation, however, and are instead mandated to serve their communities. Community investments have unlimited possibilities, including affordable housing, saving people from foreclosure, making student loans more affordable, and creating more infrastructure to defend against the effects of climate change.

Note: Ellen Brown is a dedicated researcher who has promoted public banks for years. Check out her excellent work on her website at https://ellenbrown.com. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Revealed: how US senators invest in firms they are supposed to regulate
2019-09-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-10-06 17:38:32
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/sep/19/us-senators-investments-confl...

As they set national policy on important issues such as climate change, tech monopolies, medical debt and income inequality, US senators have glaring conflicts of interest, an investigation by news website Sludge and the Guardian can reveal. An analysis of personal financial disclosure data as of 16 August has found that 51 senators and their spouses have as much as $96m personally invested in corporate stocks in five key sectors: communications/electronics; defense; energy and natural resources; finance, insurance and real estate; and health. Overall, the senators are invested in 338 companies. The median stock investment range in the five sectors for the 51 senators is between $100,000 and $365,000, while the average range of the investments is between $551,000 and nearly $1,874,000. Not only are the senators far wealthier than most of their constituents, but they’re in a prime position to increase their wealth via policymaking. It’s not illegal for members of Congress to have personal financial stakes in the industries on which they legislate. But such investments raise questions about lawmakers’ motivations. Some senators want to do away with these perceived conflicts of interest. Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced anti-corruption legislation in August 2018 that included a ban on members of Congress, senior congressional staff, cabinet secretaries, White House staff, federal judges and other officials from owning ... securities while in office.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Danish bank launches world’s first negative interest rate mortgage
2019-08-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-08-26 15:35:56
https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/aug/13/danish-bank-launches-worlds-fir...

A Danish bank has launched the world’s first negative interest rate mortgage – handing out loans to homeowners where the charge is minus 0.5% a year. Negative interest rates effectively mean that a bank pays a borrower to take money off their hands, so they pay back less than they have been loaned. Jyske Bank, Denmark’s third largest, has begun offering borrowers a 10-year deal at -0.5%, while another Danish bank, Nordea, says it will begin offering 20-year fixed-rate deals at 0% and a 30-year mortgage at 0.5%. Under its negative mortgage, Jyske said borrowers will make a monthly repayment as usual – but the amount still outstanding will be reduced each month by more than the borrower has paid. The mortgage is possible because Denmark, as well as Sweden and Switzerland, has seen rates in money markets drop to levels that turn banking upside-down. Hřegh said Jyske Bank is able to go into money markets and borrow from institutional investors at a negative rate, and is simply passing this on to its customers. In Denmark, interest rates on savings deposited in Jyske ... have already fallen to zero. In reality, the Jyske mortgage borrower in Denmark is likely to end up paying back a little more than they borrowed, as there are still fees and charges to pay to compensate the bank for arranging the deal, even when the nominal rate is negative.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Banks Sued for LIBOR Collusion — Again!
2019-07-26, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2019-08-12 22:21:07
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/banks-libor-lawsuit-8...

Two summers ago, the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, Andrew Bailey, made news when he announced that LIBOR – the leading benchmark for setting global interest rates – had a “sustainability” issue. The rate is supposed to measure the rate at which banks borrow from each other, but Bailey said it wasn’t based on real borrowing. LIBOR, the London Interbank Offered Rate, helps set rates for hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of financial instruments. If Bailey was right, it meant a sizable portion of global economic activity rested on magical thinking. A secondary concern involved manipulation. If banks were inventing numbers to submit to the LIBOR committee, could they not also be manipulating rates to line pockets? The possibility ... seemed to exist that the world’s major investors – including localities and pension funds – were being systematically ripped off. A class of investors and retirement funds including Putnam Bank and the Hawaii Sheet Metal Workers Pension Fund did recently bring an antitrust suit alleging just such a scheme. The July 1 complaint is an amended version of a class action suit originally filed earlier this year. The action against JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Barclays, and numerous other banks uses both documentary evidence and data to argue that banks have been purposefully depressing interest rates. The idea would be to lower payouts to investors who are contractually due to receive LIBOR, while lessening costs for LIBOR borrowers.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


Banks have been ripping off Americans for too long.
2019-05-17, CNN News
Posted: 2019-05-26 03:24:34
https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/17/perspectives/bernie-sanders-loan-shark-prevent...

The Federal Reserve recently reported that about half of Americans have virtually no wealth at all, with four in 10 unable to afford a $400 emergency expense. That means that if their car breaks down or their child gets sick, they have to charge those expenses to a credit card. And when they do that, they get ripped off — big time. Despite the fact that banks can borrow money from the Fed at less than 2.5%, the median credit card interest rate ... is now over 21%. Last year, Wall Street banks made $113 billion in credit card interest alone, up by nearly 50% in just five years. In other words, while working class Americans pay outrageously high interest rates, Wall Street banks get rich. And if you live in a low-income community without a bank or cannot get a credit card, what do you do when you need to borrow money? You may have to turn to a predatory payday lender where the average interest rate on an annual basis is a jaw-dropping 391%. When banks and payday lenders charge these unconscionably high interest rates, they are not engaged in the business of making credit available. They are involved in extortion. We need a national usury law that caps interest rates ... at 15%. And that's exactly what the legislation I introduced with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would do. Under our Loan Shark Prevention Act, we would make sure that no bank or store in America could charge an interest rate higher than 15%. 88% of Americans support a cap on credit card interest rates.

Note: The above was written by Senator Bernie Sanders. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and income inequality.


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