New York Communities for Change has launched an innovative campaign to keep Americans in their homes: keep people in their homes, or else. They introduce the campaign:
We all know the Big Banks triggered the forecosure crisis in this country through predatory lending practices. Now they have the power to fix it - by working with families facing foreclosure, these banks can modify their loans to allow them to make payments and stay in their homes. But the Big Banks refuse to do this. It's time to send the banks a message - change your ways, or we move our money.
Fill out the form below to send an email to the CEO's of the Big Five - Chase, Citi, HSBC, B of A, and Wells Fargo, letting them know that if they don't improve their loan modification policies by August 31st, YOU will move your money to another bank and refuse to do business with any of these five.
Take the pledge. And, help keep Americans in their homes.
Meet Judge Jed Rakoff. He's one of the good guys. He's a federal judge who recently ruled against a corrupt deal that sought to stick it to the little guy shareholders so that the fatcats could walk away with their excessive Wall Street bonuses. Dan Collins tells the story in the Huffington Post:
The guy with the wings and the sword also wears robes: He's federal Judge Jed Rakoff. The shock waves from Rakoff's scathing denunciation last month of a proposed settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bank of America are still rippling through Wall Street and Washington.
Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis is on his way out, and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is pressing an investigation into the deal in which the bank purchased ailing Merrill Lynch last December without telling its shareholders that executives of the tottering brokerage were paid $3.6 billion in bonuses shortly before the takeover was announced. A congressional panel is also probing the deal.
The common-sense wisdom of Rakoff's ruling resonated with a public infuriated with billion-dollar bonuses and bailouts. The SEC signed off on an agreement in which the bank agreed to pay $33 million (in shareholder money) for concealing the bonus payments from the shareholders. In effect, the victims were being punished, a topsy-turvy outcome fairly typical of the SEC's handling of wrongdoing by large corporations in cases like these.
"Oscar Wilde once famously said that a cynic is someone 'who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing,'" Rakoff wrote.
The proposed consent judgment in this case suggests a rather cynical relationship between the parties: the S.E.C. gets to claim that it is exposing wrongdoing on the part of the Bank of America in a high-profile merger; the Bank's management gets to claim that they have been coerced into an onerous settlement by overzealous regulators. And all this is done at the expense, not only of the shareholders, but also of the truth.
Rakoff's ruling may well mark the dawn of a new era in corporate accountability, since the judge has pressed for the names of the bank executives responsible for hiding the bonus payments.
These people have no shame. We need more Jed Rakoff's and we need them now. With Phil Angelides' Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, we have a golden opportunity to drain the swamp. Will they drain it and clean up Wall Street? Or, will Wall Street's tentacles of influence corrupt the Commission? Time will tell.