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Inside Washington (03/13/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (3/14/12)--The Department of Housing and Urban Development's inspector general on Tuesday released five reports about foreclosure-handling practices at five major U.S. banks after the banks filed court documents Monday settling allegations they violated state and federal foreclosure laws and overcharged customers (American Banker March 13). The reports were used by federal officials as evidence of violations and served as leverage for the government during the settlement negotiations. The reports revealed that managers at Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. pressured staff to speed up handling of documents used to process foreclosures without a proper review. Citigroup's mortgage unit employees regularly signed foreclosure documents when not in the presence of a notary public, as required by law, according to the reports. An audit of 36 foreclosure cases found four in which JP Morgan Chase & Co. documented the amount owed. In three out of the four cases, the amount was inaccurate. An employee of Ally Financial routinely signed 400 foreclosure disclosure documents per day and 10,000 a month, without reviewing the supporting documentation, the report said …
  • WASHINGTON (3/14/12)--Ally Financial Inc., Citigroup Inc. and SunTrust had insufficient capital ratios under stress test scenarios run by the Federal Reserve to evaluate whether banks have enough reserves to withstand another economic downturn 2008 (MarketWatch March 13). The three banks had less than a 5% stressed ratio of Tier 1 common capital through the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the Fed. A fourth bank also failed to meet required capital levels, but the name of the firm was not released. The results of the stress tests were released Tuesday--two days earlier than previously announced. Reflecting the severity of the stress scenario--which includes a peak unemployment rate of 13%, a 50% drop in equity prices, and a 21% decline in housing prices--losses at the 19 bank holding companies were estimated to total $534 billion during the nine quarters of the hypothetical stress scenario. The aggregate Tier 1 common capital ratio, which compares high-quality capital to risk-weighted assets, fell from 10.1% in the third quarter of 2011 to 6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013 in the hypothetical stress scenario. That number incorporates the banks' proposals for dividends, share buybacks, and share issuance …

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