Banks

So, You Moved your Savings from a Big Bank to a Credit Union. Well…

CUNA MUST #DumpALEC

From the CUNA webpage

NCUA: CU growth accelerated in Q3

WASHINGTON (11/30/12)–America’s federally insured credit unions took in 742,847 new members in the third quarter of 2012, representing a quarterly growth rate of 0.8%, and these National Credit Union Administration-reported numbers show that “something remarkable is clearly happening,” Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said.

The third-quarter membership increases brought the total number of federally insured credit union members nationwide to 93.9 million, the NCUA reported. The 742,847 gain is up from 643,322 net new members in the second quarter.

For about a month now I have planned to do a follow-up to a previous blog entry I had done and I have kept pushing it back on the to-do list.  Today I ran into a series of really old tweets that was just happened to be out of order (chronologically) on a tweet roll.  That was the universe’s way of telling me – I have to do the follow-up entry.

I am at the point where the financial planners say I should be taking most of my retirement money (what little there is) out of the stock market and putting it into safer investments.  I want to sell some of my stock holdings and roll them over into a CD IRA at the credit union that I belong to (that I joined during the Move Your Money campaign).

BUT,  I don’t really trust my credit union anymore.

Here’s the reason why. More →

NY Attorney General Files Suit against JP Morgan Chase

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) has filed a civil lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase alleging “widespread fraud in the sale of mortgage-backed securities,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The suit is the first action brought by the Obama administration’s mortgage fraud task force, which Schneiderman chairs.

According to the suit, filed in New York state court, the bank was “aware that many of their loan originators were selling defective loans but continued to buy and securitize those loans,” and, similarly to the “shitty deals” peddled by Goldman Sachs bankers, had openly touted the bad packages they were selling…

For more information about this first step at bringing those who created and profited from the 2008 financial crash, please click here

Matt Taibbi – Wall Street undermining Dodd-Frank

Wall Street Lobbyists have succeeded in more gutting of the Dodd-Frank Bill with “the passage of a new House bill (HR 2827), which rolls back a portion of Dodd-Frank designed to protect cities and towns from the next Jefferson County disaster.

Jefferson County, Alabama was the most famous case – the city of Birmingham went bankrupt after being bribed and goaded into taking on billions of dollars of toxic swap deals – but in fact it was just one of hundreds of similar examples of localities being duped into suicidal financial deals by rapacious banks and financial companies. The Denver school system, for instance, got clobbered when it opted for an exotic swap deal pushed by J.P. Morgan Chase (the same villain in Jefferson County, incidentally) and then-school superintendent/future U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, that ended up costing the school system tens of millions of dollars. As was the case in Jefferson County, the only way out of the deal involved a massive termination fee that might have been even more destructive than the deal itself.

To deal with this problem, the Dodd-Frank Act among other things included a simple reform. It required the financial advisors of municipalities to do two things: register with the SEC, and accept a fiduciary duty to respect the best interests of the taxpayers they are advising.

Sounds simple, right? But Wall Street couldn’t have that. After all, if companies are required to have a fiduciary responsibility to cities and towns, how in the world can they screw cities and towns?”

To read Matt Taibbi’s complete article please click here.

Carney–Did She Really Want to Override the Anti-Fracking Veto

A couple of days ago I wrote about how long time legislator NC Rep Becky Carney pushed the wrong button and ended up being the key vote to override the veto of legislation that would allow fracking in NC.  At the time I said I smelled a rat.

One of my colleagues here at VLTP who is brilliant with numbers and their analysis, took a look into Carney. I mean, just think about it.  How difficult is it to imagine a 5 term representative with literally hundreds of votes just in this past legislative session–perhaps thousands in her career–pressing the green “yea” button instead of the red “nay” button.

A person who has been fighting fracking very hard assures me that people “in the know” understand that she made a legitimate error.

Well, I’m not so sure about Carney’s mistake.  And here is why:

Our whiz looked at the career (public record) campaign financing of this 5 term Representative from Mecklenburg County which, with over 919,628 residents, is the largest county in North Carolina.  From these residents, Carney received $24,670 from “individual contributors”

But these “individual contributions  included funds that I would consider as being from business:

  • contributions from the president of Summit Hospitality Group (headquartered in Raleigh, Wake County being the second largest county in NC)
  • contributions from executives at the Speedway Motorsports Inc
  • contributions form executives at Performance Racing network
  • contributions from executives at Lowes Motor Speedway

That brings the total of her individual contributions down to $14,760.  Not a lot of money considering her 5 years in office and the patronage she should have built up among her constituents.  It works out to $12.46 per constituent per year.  That does not appear very impressive.

Over the course of her career in the Legislature, Carney has received total contributions of $281,469.57.   All of 5.2% coming from constituents, the rest coming from PAC and special interests. Included in the total contributions are monies from PACs with ALEC connections, with banking/finance connections, and with energy connections.  Here are some of the names on the list, from those with ALEC connections:

AT&T, Bank of America, Blue Cross / Blue Shield NC, CenturyLink, Coca-Cola. CSX. Dominium Resources Inc, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline International Paper. John Deere, Microsoft. PepsiCo. Time Warner, WalPac (aka WalMart).

The Banking industry was well represented by PACs of Citigroup, First Citizens Bank Combined, North Carolina Bank, Resident Lenders of North Carolina, Security Finance Corp of Spartanburg, Wachovia NC Employees, Wells Fargo and Co

Energy companies were represented by PACs of  Dominium, Duke, Progress Energy, PSNC Energy.

And, of course, there is the PAC representing conservative stalwart the Chamber of Commerce.

95% from PACs and special interests.  5% from individual contributors.

In all honesty I have to admit that don’t know if this proportion of fundraising is normal or not.  But I do know that PAC donations–especially from ALEC–come with strings attached.  If this is the norm, then we need to throw out all our current legislators until comprehensive campaign finance reform is accomplished.  They are all far too beholden to corporate interests.  If this is not the norm, what does it say about Becky Carney?

Now, following the money, who do you really think she pushed that button for?