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(Photo Ricky Harris/The White House/Flickr
Photo White House/D. Myles Cullen/Flickr.)

BUSINESS

The Senate’s Plan To Save Small Businesses Is Already Failing, And Mnuchin Just Made It Worse

The details are out of Treasury now, and it looks like it isn’t going to work for a large number of small business owners after all.
Christopher Bedford
https://thefederalist.com/2020/04/08/the-senates-plan-to-save-small-businesses-is-already-failing-and-mnuchin-just-made-it-worse/

By Christopher Bedford
APRIL 8, 2020

Remember the deal the president signed to save America’s small businesses from ruin during the government’s coronavirus shutdown? The one hammered out by the Senate and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin over weeks of tense negotiation while Americans worriedly watched, hoping good news might come before a depression does? The details are out of Treasury now, and it looks like it isn’t going to work for a large number of small business owners after all.

It isn’t going to work because the Senate’s formula allows far too little money to make up for a lost month and get through the following two or more while meeting the Senate’s demands. The Senate made these demands to protect workers, but did not provide the money a lot of businesses will need to protect workers and themselves. It’s just common sense, Washington will say, to protect workers and the taxpayer in these hard times.

Then, even if there was enough money, it isn’t going to work because Mnuchin crafted loan parameters that make it untenable for nearly all small businesses should the Senate’s demands not be met, which would mean the loan doesn’t qualify for forgiveness. Treasury did this last bit to protect the banks while pushing them to make loans they aren’t otherwise making. It’s just common sense, he’ll say, because local and regional banks couldn’t make a more generous deal work — a problem Mnuchin knew was coming the entire time the Senate negotiated, of course.

Here’s how it all plays out in real life. Imagine you own a restaurant with a gross revenue of $1.2 million a year, or $100,000 a month. This business employs eight people and has gross expenses of $1 million a year, or $85,000 a month. So in a normal year for your restaurant, you get to take home $200,000, minus taxes. A 20 percent profit, by the way, puts you above and beyond a lot of America’s small businesses, which will be dealing with tighter margins than the ones below.

Your monthly expenses don’t include buying goods anymore, because the government shut you down for the pandemic, but they still include rent or interest on your mortgage, the real estate tax, building insurance, maintenance and utilities, coming to $15,000 a month in your case. Then you have, say, $30,000 a month in payroll before taxes, and none of this includes your own pay. Now you need a loan.

The Senate’s loan amount is generated by multiplying a business’s monthly payroll by 2.5. The loan is meant to cover two months and can go toward your costs and utilities, but to qualify for grant forgiveness you need to retain your entire workforce and put at least 75 percent of the loan toward them.

At 2.5 times your monthly payroll, which is $30,000, you’re looking at a $75,000 loan. If this seems less than your needs, it’s because it is. You’re already in the hole because you saw a steep decline in business in March as the pandemic spread, but you didn’t know what was coming so you kept your full staff without earning near full revenue. Now you’ve got $75,000 for the next two months, but two months of payroll, rent and utilities swings in at $90,000 — $15,000 more than the loan that already doesn’t take last month into account. The city closed your restaurant the next two months too, by the way, so you won’t be earning a dime of revenue in that time.

By June, you’ve earned no income and you’re halfway through your year. If you could get roaring again right away you might make up some of that, but you’re a restaurant and unless a cure is suddenly widely available, occupancy will be severely limited by the state and revenue won’t be what it once was. It might not be profitable to open at all, given new distancing requirements and their impact on sales.

If you don’t make the Senate’s requirements, you have to pay that loan back, and thanks to Mnuchin, you’re not going to be able to do that either. In the bill, Congress set a window of a maximum interest of 4 percent and loan repayment within 10 years. This was just a window, so it was up to Treasury to set the final costs and they put them at 1 percent interest and two years to pay the bank.

In real life, that means you’re looking at beginning your third quarter in debt, limping on into the winter, losing an entire year’s profits getting your business running again, and owing nearly half of next year’s profits to the bank, all before any other loans you had to take out to keep from bankruptcy. You might have been able to spread that pain out, but two years is too little time.

And then there’s all the dictates Nancy Pelosi put into the bill in exchange for the Democrat vote. You might support the speaker and think that paid leave and health insurance requirements on small businesses are a noble policy, but you’ve got a lot on your mind and in addition to keeping everything afloat, taking this loan means you expose yourself to a lot of business costs very quickly at the onset of what might be an economic depression. Republicans gave you a tax credit to pay for it all, which is nice, but that’s at the end of the year — if you’re broke and out of business by then, it won’t mean anything.

Additionally, as your neighbors’ restaurants go under, the cost of the goods you need have increased. It’s a disaster. There’s no chance you’re making $200,000 in profits this year. Instead, with the private loans you finally pried out of the near-frozen banks, you’re in debt and left wondering what you’re doing here. The business you’ve worked for all these years just went down in a sea of shutdowns and disease, and there are jobs that pay well without all the risk and danger of being an entrepreneur and employing people in your community.

Like most other small business owners, you never wanted to own a giant company or a big house on the hill — just earn a good living working hard. It’s a sad thing, but the reality is most Americans prefer stability and assurances to risk and exposure, even with the chance of reward. That’s what makes our entrepreneurs different and what makes them special: They take the risk, and because they do, a whole lot of the rest of us have jobs, favorite places to go, sponsors for our children’s sports teams, and all the other things that make a town our town.

The above scenario is just one, and some folks might have lower or higher costs than your restaurant did, but you’re united with them in that risk you took to make America a better place for yourselves and your neighbors. Now that might be over, ended by a foreign disease, politicians who don’t get what it takes to run a business, and a Treasury secretary who only cares about Wall Street and the banks. It’s a terrible thing to see. Let’s pray Washington wises up — and hold them accountable if they don’t.

Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Ricky Harris/The White House/Flickr
Photo White House/D. Myles Cullen/Flickr.

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RBS bankers joked about destroying the US housing market
By Editor August 16, 2018
http://www.theeventchronicle.com/finanace/rbs-bankers-joked-about-destroying-the-us-housing-market/


A boarded up building in Cleveland, Ohio, in January 2008. In the build up to the crisis mortgage lenders were incentivised to make as many loans as possible. Photograph: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Transcripts of pre-financial crisis conversations show senior bankers’ disregard for customers

By Rob Davies

RBS bankers joked about destroying the US housing market after making millions by trading loans that staff described as “total fucking garbage”, according to transcripts released as part of a $4.9bn (£3.8bn) settlement with US prosecutors.

Details of internal conversations at the bank emerged just weeks before the 10-year anniversary of the financial crisis, which saw RBS rescued with a £45bn bailout from the UK government.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) criticised RBS over its trade in residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) – financial instruments underwritten by risky home loans that are cited as pivotal in the global banking crash.

It said the bank made “false and misleading representations” to investors in order to sell more of the RMBS, which are forecast to result in losses of $55bn to investors.

Transcripts published alongside the settlement reveal the attitude among senior bankers at RBS towards some of the products they sold.

The bank’s chief credit officer in the US referred to selling investors products backed by “total fucking garbage” loans with “fraud [that]was so rampant … [and]all random”.

He added that “the loans are all disguised to, you know, look okay kind of … in a data file.”

The DoJ said senior RBS executives “showed little regard for their misconduct and, internally, made light of it”.

In one exchange, as the extent of the contagion in the banking industry was becoming clear, RBS’ head trader received a call from a friend who said: “[I’m] sure your parents never imagine[d]they’d raise a son who [would]destroy the housing market in the richest nation on the planet.”

He responded: “I take exception to the word ‘destroy.’ I am more comfortable with ‘severely damage.’”

Another senior banker explained to a colleague that risky loans were the result of a broken mortgage industry that meant lenders were “raking in the money” and were incentivised to make as many loans as possible.

Employees who might raise the alarm about the riskiness of such lending “don’t give a shit because they’re not getting paid”, he said.

The bank made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from selling RMBS, the DoJ said, while disguising the risk they posed to investors, which included a group of nuns who lost 96% of their investment.

By October 2007, as signs of stress began to show in the banking system, RBS’ chief credit officer wrote to colleagues expressing his true feelings about the burgeoning volume of subprime loans in the housing market.

He said loans were being pushed by “every possible … style of scumbag”, adding that it was “like quasi-organised crime”.

“Nobody seems to care,” he added.
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The DoJ criticised RBS’ failure to do due diligence on the loans it was packaging, saying the bank feared it would lose out to rivals if it performed stricter tests.

One analyst at the lender referred to the bank’s due diligence procedures as “just a bunch of bullshit”, according to the transcripts.

When the bank became concerned about the poor quality of loans and started imposing tighter due diligence, one senior banker complained, saying: “Oh, God. Does anyone want to make money around here any more?”

RBS expected to make $20m from one deal that involved trading particularly risky loans, but faced resistance from the bank’s chief credit officer.

A senior executive responded to the concerns by telling the bank’s head trader: “Please don’t fuckin’ blow this one. We need every dollar we can get our hands on.”

Internal conversations between bankers also offer some insight into their growing realisation of the poor quality of the loans the bank owned and sold.

In September 2007, one trader referred to an appraisal of loans as giving “pretty shitty results”.

The transcripts were released by the DoJ as it confirmed the details of the settlement with the bank over its trading in RMBS.

RBS said: “Under the terms of the settlement, RBS disputes the allegations but will not set out a legal defence, while the settlement does not constitute a judicial finding.”

Certainty over the scale of the settlement will allow the bank to pay its first dividend in a decade this year.

The dividend is worth £240m and the Treasury will receive £149m as RBS is still 62%-owned by the government.

Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive, said: “This settlement dates back to the period between 2005 and 2007. There is no place for the sort of unacceptable behaviour alleged by the DoJ at the bank we are building today.”

He added that the bank could now “focus our energy on serving our customers better”.

But league tables published by the Competition and Markets Authority on Wednesday placed RBS joint bottom for customer service, with fewer than half of customers saying they would recommend the bank to a friend.

RBS will have to publish the results in branches, on its website and mobile app from today.

This article (RBS bankers joked about destroying the US housing market) was originally published on The Guardian and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.

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FDIC Employee Quits and Goes Public With Complaint Against Chase, WAMU, Citi and two law firms
Posted on March 25, 2015 by Neil Garfield
https://livinglies.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/fdic-employee-quits-and-goes-public-with-complaint-against-chase-wamu-citi-and-two-law-firms/
 
For further information and assistance please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688
=======================

See Eric Mains Federal Complaint
https://livinglies.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/fdic-employee-quits-and-goes-public-with-complaint-against-chase-wamu-citi-and-two-law-firms/eric-mains-federal-complaint/

See Mains – Table of Contents.petition 2 transfer
https://livinglies.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/fdic-employee-quits-and-goes-public-with-complaint-against-chase-wamu-citi-and-two-law-firms/mains-table-of-contents-petition-2-transfer/

On Monday Eric Mains resigned from his employment with the FDIC. He had just filed a lawsuit against Chase, Citi, WAMU-HE2 Trust, Cynthia Riley, LPS, WAMU, and two law firms. Since he felt he had a conflict of interest, he believed the best course of action was to resign effective immediately.
His lawsuit, told from the prospective of a true insider, reveals in astonishing detail the worst of the practices that have resulted in millions of illegal foreclosures. Some of his allegations cast a dark shadow over claims of Chase Bank on its balance sheet, as reported to the public and the SEC and the reporting of both Chase and Citi as to their potential liability for wrongful foreclosures. If he is right, and he proves these allegations, much of what Chase has reported as its financial condition will vanish from its financial statements and the liability side of the balance sheets of both Citi (as Trustee) and Chase (as servicer and “owner’) will increase exponentially. This may well have the effect of bringing both giants into the position of insufficient reserve capital and force the government to take action against both entities. Elizabeth Warren might have been right when she said that Citi should have been broken into pieces. And the same logic might apply to Chase.

He has also penned the phrase “wild goose Chase” referring to discovery of the true creditors and processing of applications for modification of loans. And he has opened the door for RICO actions against the banks and individuals who did the bidding of the banks as well as the individuals who directed those actions.


His Indiana lawsuit is filed in federal court. He alleges that
1. WAMU was not the actual lender in his own loan
2. That the loan was part of an illegal scheme from the start
3. That his loan was subject to claims of securitization but that those claims were false
4. That the REMIC Trust was never funded and therefore never had the capacity to originate or buy loans
5. That the intermediaries never followed the law or the documents for securitization of his loan
6. That the REMIC Trust never did purchase his loan
7. That Citi was therefore “trustee” for an unfunded trust
8. That Chase never purchased the loans from WAMU
9. That Chase could not have been the legal servicer over the loan because the loan was not in the trust
10. That Chase has filed conflicting claims as to ownership of the loans
11. That the affidavit of Robert Schoppe, whom Mains worked for, as to ownership of the loans was false when it states that Chase owned the loans
12. That the use of WAMU’s name on the loan documents was a false representation
13. That his loan may have been pledged several times by various parties
14. That multiple payments from multiple parties were likely received by Chase and others on account of the Mains “loan” but were never accounted for to the investors whose money was being used as though it was the Banks themselves who were funding originations and a acquisitions of loans
15. That the industry practice was to reap multiple payments on the same loan — and the foreclose as though there was balance due when in fact the balance claimed was entirely incorrect
16. That the investors were defrauded and that foreclosure was part of the fraudulent scheme
17. That Mains name and identity was used without his consent to justify numerous illegal transactions in which the banks repeated huge profits
18. That neither WAMU nor Chase had any rights to collect money from Mains
19. That Citi had no right to enforce a loan it did not own and had no authority to represent the owner(s) of the loan
20. That the modification procedures adopted by the Banks were used intentionally to force the borrower into the illusions a default
21. That Sheila Bair, Chairman of the FDIC, said that Chase and other banks used HAMP modifications as “a kind of predatory lending program.”
22. That Mains stopped making payments when he discovered that there was no known or identified creditor.
23. The despite stopping payments, his loan balance went down, according to statements sent to him.
24. That Chase has routinely violated the terms of consent judgments and settlements with respect to the processing of payments and the filing of foreclosures.
25. That the affidavits filed by persons purportedly representing Chase were neither true nor based upon personal knowledge
26. That the note and mortgage are void from the start.
27. That Mains has found “incontrovertible evidence of fraud, forgery and possibly backdating as well.” (referring to Chase)
28. That the law firms suborned perjury and intentionally made misrepresentations to the Court
29. That Cynthia Riley “is one overwhelmingly productive and multi-talented bank officer. Apparently she was even capable of endorsing hundreds of loan documents a day, and in Mains’ case, even after she was no longer employed by Washington Mutual Bank. [Mains cites to deposition of Riley in JPM Morgan Chase v Orazco Case no 29997 CA, 11th Judicial Circuit, Florida.
30 That Cynthia Riley was laid off in November 2006 and never again employed as a note review examiner by WAMU nor at JP Morgan Chase.
30. That LPS (now Black Knight) owns and operates LPS Desktop Software, which was used to create false documents to be executed by LPS employees for recording in the Offices of the Indiana County recorder.
31. That the false documents in the mains case were created by LPS employee Jodi Sobotta and signed by her with no authority to do so.
32. Neither the notary nor the LPS employee had any real documents nor knowledge when they signed and notarized the documents used against Mains.
33. Chase and its lawyer pursued the foreclosure with full knowledge that the assignment was fraudulent and forged.
34. That LPS was established as an intermediary to provide “plausible deniability” to Chase and others who used LPS.
35. That the law firms also represented LPS in a blatant conflict of interest and with knowledge of LPS fraud and forgery.

Some Quotes form the Complaint:
“Mains perspective on this case is a rather unique one, as Main is an employee of the FDIC (hereinafter, FDIC) who worked in the Dallas field office of the FDIC in the Division of Resolutions and Receiverships (hereinafter DRR), said division which was the one responsible for closing WAMU and acting as its receiver. Mains worked with one Robert Schoppe in his division, whom the defendant Chase Bank often cites to when pulling out an affidavit Robert signed. This affidavit states that Chase Bank had purchased “certain assets and liabilities” of WAMU in the purchase transaction from the FDIC as receiver for WAMU in 2008. Chase Bank uses this affidavit ad museum to convince the court system in foreclosure cases that this affidavit somehow proves that Chase Bank purchased “every conceivable asset” of WAMU, so it must have standing in all cases involving homeowner loans originated through WAMU, or to put it simply that this proves Chase became a holder with rights to enforce or a holder in due course of the loan as defined by the Uniform Commercial Code. Antithetically, when it wants to sue the FDIC for a billion dollars… due to mounting expenses from the WAMU purchase transaction, it complains that the purchase agreement it signed didn’t really entail the purchase of “every asset and liability” of WAMU… Chase Bank claims this when it is to their advantage in a lawsuit to do so.

Mains worked as team leader in the DRR Dallas field office
[The] violation of REMIC trust rules occurred because the entities involved, for reasons of control, speed of transaction, and to hide what they were actually doing with the investors money


Unfortunately for the investors, many of the banks involved in the securitization process (like Wahoo) failed to perform the securitizations properly, hence as mentioned above, the securitizations were botched and ineffective as to passing ownership of the notes or underlying collateral. The loans purchased were not purchased THROUGH the REMIC. … The REMIC trust entity must be the one actually purchasing the mortgages directly.
This violation of REMIC trust rules occurred because the entities involved, for reasons of control, speed of transaction, and to hide what they were actually doing with the investors funds once received, held the investor funds in the “lender” banks owned subsidiary accounts, instead of funding the REMIC trusts with the money so that the trust could then purchase the loan from the “lender”, making it an actual buy and sell transaction.”

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