“The banks screwed up the title transfers. A lot. They sold bonds backed by houses they didn’t own. When it came time to foreclose on those homes, they realized that they didn’t actually own them, and so they committed felony after felony, forging the necessary documentation. They stole houses, by the neighborhood-load, and got away with it. The $1B settlement sounded like a big deal, back when the evidence was sealed. Now that Szymoniak’s gotten it into the public eye, it’s clear that $1B was a tiny slap on the wrist: the banks stole trillions of dollars’ worth of houses from you and people like you, paid less than one percent in fines, and got to keep the homes.“
I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that America’s system of jurisprudence simply isn’t up to the task of holding banks and bankers accountable for their actions.
“Mistakes like a bounced check or a small overdraft have effectively blacklisted more than a million low-income Americans from the mainstream financial system for as long as seven years as a result of little-known private databases that are used by the nation’s major banks.”
Kat Stoeffel has excerpts from Seducing the Boys Club, and it’s just as gross as you already imagine it to be.
In case you missed it: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, our country’s top energy regulator, accused JPMorgan of Chase of manipulating power markets in California and the Midwest, gaming the market to get consumers to pay more for electricity. JPMorgan is expected to pay a fine of at least $400 million.
Sarah Jaffe has a great overview of the hot topic of businesses paying their workers with prepaid debit cards. One worker’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania led her employer, a McDonald’s franchise, to offer checks and direct deposit in addition to the cards, which until then had been compulsory.
As Jaffe writes, “The cards are loaded with sneaky fees that leave workers essentially paying the bank for access to their wages.” For many people without bank accounts, paying for access to wages is unavoidable: prepaid debit cards, check cashing stores, wire fees.
“Proper” banking has drawbacks of its own: Yesterday I deposited a check in my bank account. The funds won’t be available to me until later today.
Probably Best We Just Sit Very Still in Our Houses And Not Do Anything, No Sudden Movements, No Art, No Leaks, No Nothing
“In addition to possibly spending  years in jail, Olson will also be held liable for fines of up to $13,000 over the anti-big-bank slogans that were left using washable children’s chalk on a sidewalk outside of three San Diego, California branches of Bank of America, the massive conglomerate that received $45 billion in interest-free loans from the US government in 2008-2009 in a bid to keep it solvent after bad bets went south.”
Today my 1 thing is super simple, seemingly. All I have to do is get my check from the restaurant and then walk by the Pay-O-Matic check cashing place without cashing it. That’s it!
Thursday is a great day to do that 1 thing you don’t want to do but also don’t want to continue thinking about doing.