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“It’s gutless leadership,” US Senator Warren told Wells Fargo CEO John Stumft at a senate hearing over how he led the bank to fool investors. Want to get angry? Listen to the video above. We need Warren to be the next US president!

On twelve occasions between 2012 and 2016 Stumpf told investors that Wells Fargo was doing great because the bank had record and increasing numbers of cross-selling, which is the number of accounts opened by the same customers. In this case, approximately two million accounts were opened by customers without their knowledge. Stumpf lied when he denied the bank committed these crimes to fool investors.

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency fined Wells Fargo $185 million for this latest Wall Street scandal, which is a drop in the bucket for the bank, and a small token of doing business-as-usual.

This scam impacted negatively the credit ratings of Wells Fargo customers even if they didn’t use the accounts they didn’t know they had. Meanwhile, Stumpf received over $200 million in stock options in part because of this scam, which drove the bank’s share price upward.

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According to Business Insider, “Carrie Tolstedt, the head of the community banking division, was the executive directly responsible for overseeing the retail banking sector of the company, where the fake accounts were created.

In July, Tolstedt retired from Wells Fargo, holding roughly $96.6 million in various stock awards. Numerous times during the testimony on Tuesday, Stumpf was asked why Tolstedt wasn’t fired and whether the bank would use its clawback provision to take back some of that compensation.”

Warren called for Strumpf to be criminally investigated for the fraud he likely ordered. This wasn’t something engineered by some branch manager, not with two million phony accounts. The order had to come from way up.

Who in the bank is accountable? The CEO hasn’t resigned. He hasn’t fired one senior executive. Instead, Wells Fargo’s definition of “accountable” is to push blame on low-level employees who don’t have the money or PR firms to defend themselves. A bank cashier who steals $20 would be facing theft charges, but the department of justice has failed to hold any Wall Street executives accountable for any of the crimes they’ve committed for decades.

On the other hand, CNN reported that a number of Wells Fargo employees were fired for refusing to open the phony accounts, or if they complained about it to higher bank officials. See Wells Fargo Fired Workers in Retaliation For Reporting Fake Accounts–CNN

I should point out that Wells Fargo unofficial and perhaps under the table employee happens to be Wall Street Senator Mitch McConnell. He is unhappy with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because it is doing its job, so he’s been trying to defund it since the scandal broke. McConnell and his wife hold more Wells Fargo stock than any other senator. What a sore loser!

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Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen announced Wednesday, December 16 that the Fed will raise short term interest rates by .25 percent. That means interest rates are going to rise for the 99 percent; from 15 to 17 percent on credit cards, for example. Home mortgage rates, car loans, home equity credit lines, and student loans, among other loans, are going to rise. Home mortgage loans will rise from about 3 percent to roughly 5 percent.

Yet there are no signs of an inflationary spiral, which would in theory spur the Fed into raising rates, which is one of its falsely stated goals. Then there’s high (but not too high) employment, another cherished and false goal of the Fed. For the last six years the US economy has been creating less jobs every year (and with declining wages) than occurred under that alleged dreadful president, Jimmy Carter, whose four years as president also included rising real wages. Carter did this with an economy and population about half of today’s economy.

Preliminary indications are that the US is headed toward a recession deeper and longer than the last one, and we should arrive there somewhere between seven and seventeen months from now. The Fed’s actions exacerbate these indications by redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent, curtailing demand, and hurting the economy, such as a US durable goods sector that is clearly in recession. So what gives? What is the Fed up to?

Despite false statements to the contrary, the Fed actually has pretty much followed only two goals throughout its history, and its latest move is a classic example of this. One goal is to protect the profits and share prices of the big banks, and number two is to protect wealthy investors from their own bad investment decisions. Everybody else is expendable when the Fed undertakes its responsibilities. In other words, the 99 percent is expendable, and often the victims, of the Fed’s actions on behalf of its unstated goals, which is to financially protect the rich.

And so in this most recent Fed action, the Fed is doing its first duty; increasing the earnings and share prices of the big banks at the expense of the 99 percent, which makes it seem, quite accurately, that the relationship between the Fed/Big Banks and the 99 percent is akin to parasites unto their hosts.

Your higher credit payments are going toward greater bank profits, which will provide rising dividends to rich shareholders. Share prices might and should rise, at least in the short term. This is pure income redistribution, and the corporate propaganda network wants you to believe the Fed’s increase in interest rates is to stabilize the economy, or limit non-existent inflationary pressures, or who knows what. But the last thing the corporate press wants you to know is that more of your income is being redistributed by the US Federal Reserve Bank to the rich via higher bank profits, rising shares, and soaring dividends. The rich are going to get richer, and you are going to be more poor.

The ten biggest US banks have many things in common, and one of them is declining share prices since last summer. Clearly, the Fed’s action is intended to reverse the decline.

The ten biggest US banks are:

1 JP Morgan Chase
2. Bank of America
3. Citigroup
4. Wells Fargo
5. US Bancorp
6. Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
7. PNC Bank
8. Capital One
9. HSBC North America Holdings
10. TD Bank US Holding Company

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Student loans are a way the US government redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Notice also that virtually all K-12 educational reform is geared toward turning the most IQ challenged children into university students. The complete process of student loans and educational reform are interrelated scams to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. The more students take out loans, and the more kids and parents feel pushed toward university educations, the richer Wall Street and its investors get.

Wall Street investment corporations purchase student loans, and then turn around and issue bonds based on the value of the government guaranteed student loans, meaning there is no risk for the rich investors who opt to purchase these bonds. These student loan transaction generate billions of dollars of income for Wall Street.

That’s one reason why the US government allowed student loan interest rates to double from 3.4 to 6.8 nearly two years ago. The rich investors of Wall Street benefited from this at the expense of the 99 percent.

There is another reason why the US government keeps this massive income redistribution scam going. Wall Street banks have invested billions of dollars into private, for profit, universities.

* ITT is 100 percent owned by Wall Street investment companies.
* The Apollo Group owns the University of Phoenix, among other private universities. JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, Wells Fargo and Blackrock, among others, own 98 percent of the Apollo Group.
* Devry University is 100 percent owned by Bank of America, Barclays, BlackRock, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley, among other Wall Street Investment firms.

You can go on and on and the story is the same with respect to for-profit universities. Many of them are owned by Wall Street.

These universities target low income students, and charge several times more tuition than community colleges. Student loans amount to $32 billion in revenue a year for Wall Street owned private universities. That equals 25 percent of all student aid in the USA. The revenue generated by student loans provides up to 90 percent of annual income for Wall Street investment schools.

* In 2012, 88 percent of graduates left school with debt equal to almost $40,000 per student, which goes straight into the pockets of Wall Street investors.

* With interest, late fees, penalties, and collection fees assessed against students, the total cost of an education at these private schools is “can end up being more than double the cost of an education at Harvard University.

* 17 percent of revenue is spent on teaching, 19 percent goes to profits, and 23 percent does to marketing their bogus products.

* The average annual pay of a CEO at any of these corporate schools equals $7.3 million.

* The US Department of Education reports that 72 percent of private school graduates wind up in jobs that “average less pay than high school dropouts.” This may explain why corporate school college graduates represent only 13 percent of all college graduates, but they account for 47 percent of all loan defaults.

And these are only some of the reasons why student loans represent a nice income redistribution scam for the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. Check out the link below for a story and interview about how one person decided, among many, decided it was in his best interest to default on his student loans.

why-this-man-defaulted-on-his-student-loans-and-suggests-others-do-the-same–Yahoo! News

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This story was written by Katie Rose Quandt and originally published on BillMoyers.com.

Front-line workers at our nation’s big banks — tellers, loan interviewers and customer service representatives — are required by their employers to exploit customers, according to a revealing report out today from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). Big banks have internal systems of penalties and rewards that entice employees to push subprime loans and credit cards on customers who would be better off without them.

CPD’s report outlines several illegal predatory practices big banks have been caught employing, usually via their front-line workers:

Blatantly discriminatory lending:
In 2011 and 2012, Bank of America and Wells Fargo paid out settlements for charging higher rates and fees to tens of thousands of African American and Hispanic borrowers than to similarly qualified white customers. Minority customers were also more likely to be steered into (more expensive, riskier) subprime mortgages.
Manipulating payment processing to maximize overdraft charges:
When a savings account balance drops too low, the bank charges a hefty overdraft fee on each subsequent purchase. Both Bank of America and US Bank paid settlements for intentionally processing customers’ largest debit card payments first, regardless of chronological order, in order to hit $0 faster and maximize overdraft fees. US Bank was also accused of allowing debit card purchases on zero-balance accounts to go through (and incur overdraft fees), instead of denying the charges upfront.
Forcing sale of unneeded products:
Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup were accused of forcing customers to purchase overpriced property insurance.
Manipulative sales quotas:
Lawsuits show Wells Fargo and Bank of America created incentive programs for employees with the interests of the company — not the customer — in mind. Wells Fargo’s sales quotas encouraged bank workers to steer prime-eligible customers to subprime loans, while falsifying other clients’ income information without their knowledge. Bank of America’s “Hustle” program rewarded quantity over quality, encouraging workers to skip processes and checks intended to protect the borrower.

Instead of cutting back on the risky, unethical practices that led to the Great Recession, the CPD report asserts that big banks have not learned from their mistakes. Bank workers report higher levels of sales pressure in 2013 than in 2008, and most do not have the job security or seniority to simply refuse to hawk credit cards or steer customers into risky financial situations. While the financial sector is turning near-record profits, the average bank teller made just $12.25 an hour in 2013 (a real-dollar decrease from 2007), causing 31 percent of tellers’ families to rely on public assistance. What’s more, 85 percent of these underpaid front-line bank employees are women, and one-third are people of color. Most are in no position to risk losing their job or having their pay docked for stepping out of line.

Several anonymous big bank employees went into detail about how their employers incentivize sales:

An HSBC employee reported that when workers fell short of sales goals, the difference was taken out of their paychecks.
A teller at a major bank said she is expected to sell three new checking, savings, or debit card accounts every day. If she falls short, she gets written up.
Customer service representatives at one major bank’s call-center said everyone is expected to make at least 40 percent of the sales of the top seller. Credit card sales count for extra, encouraging callers to push credit cards on customers who would be better served with checking or savings accounts.
A call-center worker said she offers a credit card to every customer, regardless of whether it would be beneficial. She explained: “If you aren’t offering, you can get marked down — the managers and Quality Analysts listen to your call, and can tell if you aren’t offering.”

“We’re not servicing their needs,” said one front-line worker. “What they want, what they need, isn’t important to us. Selling them a product is … Some of our customers just have their savings, many are just retirees.”

As the report concludes, “Our nation’s big banks are committed to a model that jeopardizes our communities and prevents bank employees from having a voice in their workplace.”

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In order to get the news, Americans need to turn to independent blogs, or overseas sources. Take the case of the miraculous recovery of the US housing market, which has somehow seen a rise in prices despite historically low demand, as exemplified by the historically low mortgage applications. Only a massive and concerted decrease in the supply of housing can bring about such a rise a prices.

Referring to the housing bubble, the Guardian Newspaper of the UK reported, “This rise in price is, by all accounts, artificial. Housing, like all products, responds to the laws of supply and demand. When supply decreases – when there are fewer homes on the market – then prices will rise. This is what is happening now.

There is evidence that lenders are controlling the housing supply by reducing the number of houses for sale. Last year, AOL Real Estate‘s reporting suggested that as many as 90% of available properties were not even really on the market, but just polished for sale and being held back to keep supply low.

Then, last month, three major banks, including Citigroup and Wells Fargo, halted all their sales of homes in foreclosure; this also reduced the supply of homes on the market. The reduction in housing supply, then, is largely artificial, designed by the banks and institutions that hold thousands of houses and thus have the most to gain from higher house prices.

The result is what looks like a housing recovery to the rest of us, but is, in fact, something of a trap. Fitch, the ratings firm, issued a warning that the alleged recovery in housing is moving too fast and could reverse.”

In the United States, the reporting goes something like the following, as exemplified by the Oregonian newspaper’s Elliot Njus. He wrote, “In fact, negative equity has helped limit the number of homes on the market, which has in turn pushed prices higher.”

Njus is a propagandist, not a reporter, and certainly not a journalist. If Njus was, he would have written in explainable terms what the Guardian reported above, that the big banks have conspired to withhold houses from the market in order to force prices higher, which, coincidentally, is a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. This is called a conspiracy in restraint of trade.

The result is that the 99 percent are illegally being forced to pay higher prices than what an untampered with market would demand, both in terms of the price of the homes, and by the artificial raise in interest rates that has risen upward with the price of homes. In other words, this is a big income redistribution scam that shifts money from the 99 percent to the 1 percent via the higher corporate profits, rising share prices and enhanced dividends.

The big banks have taken a million homes off the US market since 2010, and almost two million more than they held off the market in 2007. The corporate media doesn’t want you to know this, so they give you meaningless blather, as what Njus wrote above on June 13, 2013.

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It’s official. The market for homes is being fixed like a corrupt poker game. The banksters are playing with a loaded hand, playing the 99 percent for fools, playing the news media like they’re a well tuned piano, and they’re doing this by rigging the housing market; they’re artificially pushing home prices up. That’s the only way home prices can be rising, because home buyers aren’t buying.

The number of 30-year fixed mortgage applications hit a record low on December 9, 2012, well after the housing market began to heat up a few months earlier. Since December 9, the number of mortgage applications have inched up a bare fraction, and they’re at near record lows. Roughly 80 percent of all home mortgages are 30-year fixed mortgages.

Remember the bad old days back in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 when the values of homes were in a virtual free fall? The number of mortgage applications was significantly higher then than they are now. In other words, given the weakness of demand, housing prices should still be dropping.

A quick look at all home mortgage applications called the price index, which includes 15-year flexible and 30-year fixed, shows almost the same pattern. The number of total mortgage applications have remained the same for the last three years.

The evidence is clear. The demand for mortgages remains at or near record lows. So demand is not pushing up home prices.

That means the supply is artificially drying up. Nearly a million homes have been taken off the market since 2009 by the big banks. They’re just sitting there. Several banks, such as Citigroup and Wells Fargo, are no longer foreclosing on home owners who are behind on their payments because that expands the supply of available housing. The job of the banksters is to get home prices to go up by shrinking the supply.

This is called a collusion in restraint of trade. It is a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Don’t expect Wall Street President Barack Obama to order his Wall Street attorney general, Eric Holder, to do anything about these criminal acts either. Obama’s biggest campaign contributions have been from members of the Wall Street gang, such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

All of this market manipulation redounds to the benefit of Wall Street. Trillions of dollars of mortgage backed bonds held by hedge funds, mutual funds, investment banks, governments, and the 1 percent are worthless because of the decline of the housing market. The Federal Reserve has been bailing out these incompetent investors for years with $26 trillion dollars of so-called loans that have never been paid back, and it’s unlikely they will ever need to be paid back since the Fed has already claimed they were paid back when it was impossible to have occurred. (See The $26 Trillion Bailout). The Fed has also purchased trillions of dollars of these bonds at their face value, rather than at their worthless value.

Now that the housing market is moving up in value through manipulation, those bonds will begin to regain value. Wall Street will be better off. Hedge Funds will be better off. The 1 percent will be better off, and all because the 99 percent are paying higher prices for homes because of market manipulation, and because mortgage rates are also being manipulated upward.

In other words, on all levels, income is being massively shifted from the 99 to the 1 percent through market manipulation, something Wall Street President Barack Obama and Wall Street US Attorney General Eric Holder apparently approve of. Otherwise, they’d do something about the newest criminal activities of the banksters.

The banksters and Obama are creating another housing bubble that will improve Obama’s economic numbers, but it’s simply another illegal income redistribution scam.

This shows how rotted to the core the US government has become, and how insane it is for people believe that markets operate in some text book way featuring a market of buyers and suppliers determining prices through supply and demand.

Click on the link below to see the graphs of 30-year fixed mortgages and the Purchase Index yourself. By the way, “the Purchase Index includes all mortgage applications for the purchase of a single-family home. It covers the entire market, both conventional and government loans, and all products. The Purchase Index has proven to be a reliable indicator of impending home sales.” Click the link below and see for yourself.

The fix is In! The Banksters are Manipulating the rise in housing prices: Mortgage applications are down for home sales!

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The number of homes for sale has plummeted 14 percent since last year. According to the US Census Bureau, there are almost 8 million houses “held off the market” this year, compared to slightly more than 7 million in 2010, 6.5 million in 2008, and 6.2 million in 2007, when the housing crisis struck.

So what’s going on? It’s simple. With the blessing of the US Department of Justice, major US banks, such as Citigroup and Wells Fargo, have taken millions of houses off of the market in order to jack-up the prices of those houses still on the market, all of which is in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. In other words, the US Department of Justice is a co-conspirator in this scheme.

Decreasing the number of houses for sale artificially pushes the price of mortgages up, by increasing purchasing costs in the form of interest rates for home buyers.

The bank’s shareholders reap the benefit of this illegal scam since they’re going to receive higher dividends and stock prices, all of which is at the expense of the 99 percent.

What’s more, most people don’t realize the housing market rise is being manipulated, so the members of the 99 percent are now starting to get into the market while prices and interest rates are still relatively low, driving the market higher, which would not occur under real market conditions.

This will allow the banks to bring onto the market more and more of their houses currently withheld from the market, and at higher prices than would get under normal market conditions. The banks and the 1 percent are getting something for nothing.

All of this is to the benefit of Wall Street. Trillions of dollars of mortgage backed bonds held by hedge funds, mutual funds, banks, governments, and the 1 percent are worthless because of the decline of the housing market. Now that the housing market is moving up in value through manipulation, those bonds will begin to regain value.

In other words, on all levels, income is being massively shifted from the 99 to the 1 percent through market manipulation, something Wall Street President Barack Obama and Wall Street US Attorney General Eric Holder approve of.

They’re creating another housing bubble that will improve Obama’s economic numbers, but this is really another illegal income redistribution scam. This shows how rotted to the core the US government has become, and how insane it is for people believe that markets operate in some text book way featuring a market setting supply and demand.

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The housing recovery seems to be just another stage of the foreclosure crisis. Or is it?

Note that the areas where house prices have risen the most – Arizona, Las Vegas and California – are all areas that were hurt most deeply by the housing crash. So pry between the boards of the housing recovery and the termites start crawling out. Here, you’ll find some old villains of the last housing bubble, crawling on the same properties. There are the house-flippers and the financial institutions, the foreclosure players that regenerate whenever there is a boom.

In this case, they may be creating the boom themselves. House-flipping in California has reached levels not seen since 2005, according to the Wall Street Journal. This rise in price is, by all accounts, artificial. Housing, like all products, responds to the laws of supply and demand. When supply decreases – when there are fewer homes on the market – then prices will rise. This is what is happening now.

There is evidence that lenders are controlling the housing supply by reducing the number of houses for sale. Last year, AOL Real Estate’s reporting suggested that as many as 90% of available properties were not even really on the market, but just polished for sale and being held back to keep supply low.

Then, last month, three major banks, including Citigroup and Wells Fargo, halted all their sales of homes in foreclosure; this also reduced the supply of homes on the market. The reduction in housing supply, then, is largely artificial, designed by the banks and institutions that hold thousands of houses and thus have the most to gain from higher house prices.

The result is what looks like a housing recovery to the rest of us, but is, in fact, something of a trap. Fitch, the ratings firm, issued a warning that the alleged recovery in housing is moving too fast and could reverse.

This means one thing; conspiracy in restraint of trade in order to jack up the prices of houses, not to mention interest rates. When demand is static while supply decreases, prices rise, and profits per home rise, as well. The price of mortgages, interest rates, also rise. The result is a redistribution of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent, which, in this case, is mostly the banksters and their shareholders.

Don’t expect the Obama man and Wall Street’s US Attorney General Eric Holder to go after the illegal price fixers. They’ve been on the financial and or ideological payroll of the big banks since day one, and so there will be no investigation in these violations of US law.

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From 2009 to 2012, the US government handed out $1.1 trillion in welfare to Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs. These corporations earned $180.3 billion during the same years. They also handed out $477.6 billion in pay and bonuses. In other words, the US government directly redistributed almost $300 billion in taxpayer money so that these five horribly managed companies could increase pay and bonuses to the people who managed to wreck them. How’s that make you feel?

Buy enough politicians, be totally incompetent in managing a company, and the public servants that are owned by incompetent CEO’s like Jamie Dimond of JP Morgan will make certain that you’ll get a nice reward for your troubles.

The US government is almost completely corrupt. The same is true of the Supreme Court. It’s credibility has been destroyed by the billionaire Koch Brothers. Big money has destroyed all three branches of our democracy so that they’re only purpose is to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent while engaging in political theater. (more…)

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Foreclosure Abuse Rampant Across the United States

“One of the major problems that has emerged in the foreclosure crisis is that it is far from clear that many lenders foreclosing on properties actually own the loans and have the right to take action against them. In many cases during the housing bubble that burst in 2008, original mortgages were repackaged and sold to so many investors that it is now unclear who actually holds the loans.”

So naturally banks are using fraudulent documents to back up their claims that they hold the mortgages to homes that they don’t own the mortgages on. It’s thievery, pure and simple, when a bank presents falsified documents claiming they own houses when they don’t, and then forecloses on them. This fraud and stealing is rampant all over the United States.

Click here for the complete story

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