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BofA Told Employees to Lie

BofA Told Employees to Lie BofA Told Employees to Lie

Bank of America Employees Told to Lie
Bank of America (BAC) is firing back at former employees who filed declarations in a federal court last week, claiming the mortgage lender told them to lie to customers seeking loan modifications. In a statement BofA essentially called them liars, “Each of the declarations is rife with factual inaccuracies.” This will make for interesting courtroom drama where he said she said and everyone will be calling everyone, a liar. Former employees said they got bonuses for denying as many loan modifications as possible and for putting homes into foreclosure. Reportedly, BofA rewarded those employees with gift cards to Target and Bed Bath and Beyond. In an attack on the credibility of lawyers painting these pictures, BofA said “These attorneys are painting a false picture of the bank’s practices.”
Ever since the Obama administration started the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in 2009, its been said that some people who applied for a loan modifications with BofA heard the response that the bank inexplicably lost their paperwork resulting in homes foreclosed. Former BofA employees allege the bank had the paperwork all along, saying it was part of a scheme by BofA to deny loan modifications and to steer financially troubled customers into more expensive re-financings.

Comments submitted under penalty of perjury from former BofA employees:

Erika Brown, who worked at Bank of America from June 2009 through June 2010 said, “I saw records regarding hundreds of homeowners that Bank of America treated dishonestly. The homeowners were eligible for loan modifications under HAMP, sent back all the required documents, and made all their required payments. Bank of America nevertheless damaged their credit ratings by reporting them delinquent, tacked on additional charges to their loans, increased the amounts it considered as being owed and often referred these homeowners to foreclosure.”

Recorda Simon, who worked at Bank of America’s call center in Fort Worth, Texas, from August 2010 to January 2011, “Although I was called a “Home Retention Specialist,” my job was to collect as much money as possible from homeowners.”

Simone Gordon, who worked at Bank of America from July 2007 to February 2012 said, "We were told to lie to customers and claim that Bank of America had not received documents it had requested, and that it had not received trial payments” when in fact it had. A collector who placed 10 or more accounts into foreclosure in a given month received a $500 bonus. Bank of America also gave employees gift cards to retail stores as rewards for placing accounts into foreclosure.”

Steven Cupples, an underwriter who worked at Bank of America until 2012 said, “The numbers Bank of America were reporting to the government and to the public were simply not true. Employees who challenged … the ethics of Bank of America’s practice for any reason were fired.”

Theresa Terralonge, who worked for Bank of America from June 2009 to June 2010 said, “Bank of America was trying to prevent as many homeowners as possible from obtaining permanent HAMP loan modifications, while leading the public and the government to believe that it was making efforts to comply with HAMP.”

William E. Wilson Jr., a team manager for Bank of America from June 2010 through August 2012, in Charlotte, N.C. said, “I told my supervisors these practices were ridiculous and immoral. We were instructed to delay and then push homeowners to accept an internal refinance so that Bank of America would profit. Once an applicant was finally rejected after a long delay, the bank would offer them an in-house alternative. Bank of America would charge a higher interest rate, ranging up to 5%, as compared to 2% if the loan had been modified under HAMP.”

FedEx Earnings
FedEx Corp. (FDX) reported Q4 revenue of $11.4 billion, profit fell to $303 million or 95 cents a share and earnings adjusted for business realignment and aircraft impairment charge were $679 million or $2.13 a share. FedEx Chief Executive Frederick W. Smith commended Q4 results but said it did not offset the headwinds of slow economic growth and consumer appetite for cheaper shipping services.

Obama to Bernanke: Time is Up
Early this week, President Barack Obama made a remark that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stayed longer than he was suppose to. The comment was taken by Former Federal Reserve Governor Laurence Meyer from 1996 through 2002 that, "He essentially fired Ben Bernanke on the spot and gave him a fairly tepid testimonial afterward. It's time to really now focus on who the next chairman might be." Meyer added that his remarks were a bit hyperbolic and said, "the president said he stayed longer than he wanted to and was supposed to. What does that mean? I'm just befuddled."

Federal Open Market Committee statement
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has strengthened further, but fiscal policy is restraining economic growth. Partly reflecting transitory influences, inflation has been running below the Committee’s longer-run objective, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic growth will proceed at a moderate pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee sees the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished since the fall. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective.

To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee decided to continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. The Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability. The Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will continue to take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases as well as the extent of progress toward its economic objectives.

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored. In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Eric S. Rosengren; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was James Bullard, who believed that the Committee should signal more strongly its willingness to defend its inflation goal in light of recent low inflation readings, and Esther L. George, who was concerned that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increased the risks of future economic and financial imbalances and, over time, could cause an increase in long-term inflation expectations.

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June 19, 2013

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