Bank of America will pay $335 million to settle allegations of discrimination at Countrywide Financial Corp., the troubled lender it bought in 2008. Countrywide was the nation’s largest subprime lender and came to symbolize the real estate collapse that led to the nation’s economic meltdown. The Justice Department said Wednesday that the agreement is the largest fair lending settlement in the department’s history.
“If you were African-American or Hispanic and you went to Countrywide for a loan, and you were qualified, you likely paid more simply because of the color of your skin,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez. People of color also were “far more likely to be steered into an expensive and risky subprime loan than a similarly-qualified white borrower.” Perez said more than 200,000 African-American and Hispanic victims are identified in the complaint and will receive compensation.
The abuses occurred between 2004 and 2007, the peak of the subprime borrowing craze.
The TLC reality TV show All-American Muslim chronicles the lives of a group of Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan. The show has been well-received for its fair and realistic portrayal of the Muslim American experience in the United States. Watch a trailer for the show here. But a reality TV show that lets Americans relate to the lives of Muslims in the United States is an offensive idea to those who want to demonize Islam. The Florida Family Association (FFA) launched a campaign earlier this year to get companies to pull their advertising from the program. FFA claims that 65 of the 67 companies targeted have done this, including home improvement giant Lowe’s and megabank Bank of America:
The Florida Family Association, a Tampa Bay group, has led a campaign urging companies to pull ads on “All-American Muslim.” The FFA contends that 65 of 67 companies it has targeted have pulled their ads, including Bank of America, the Campbell Soup Co., Dell, Estee Lauder, General Motors, Goodyear, Green Mountain Coffee, McDonalds, Sears, and Wal-Mart.
A power play is underway in the foreclosure arena, according to the New York Times. On the one side is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, who is conducting his own investigation into the era of securitizations – the practice of chopping up assets like mortgages and converting them into saleable securities – that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
On the other side is the Obama administration, the banks, and all the other state attorneys general. This second camp has cooked up a deal that would allow the banks to walk away with just a seriously discounted fine from a generation of fraud that led to millions of people losing their homes. The idea behind this federally-guided “settlement” is to concentrate and centralize all the legal exposure accrued by this generation of grotesque banker corruption in one place, put one single price tag on it that everyone can live with, and then stuff the details into a titanium canister before shooting it into deep space.
This is all about protecting the banks from future enforcement actions on both the civil and criminal sides. The plan is to provide year-after-year, (more…)
Homeowners Foreclose On Bank Of America
That’s how foreclosure defense attorney Todd Allen described the feeling of going to a Bank of America branch in Naples, Fla. to seize their assets. (more…)
As more and more Americans face mortgage foreclosure, banks’ crucial ownership documents for the properties are often unclear and are sometimes even bogus, a condition that’s causing lawsuits and hampering an already weak housing market. Scott Pelley reports.