Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SEC upholds NYC Pension Fund's Request to Launch Independent Reviews of Mortgage & Foreclosure Practices

Once again NYC Comptroller Liu is safeguarding our money and protecting against unfair practices by banks, by demanding closer review of how they conduct business in NYC or with NYC pension funds deposited with them. Much like the present bill in the City Council, his efforts seek to understand and correct practices harmful to NYC residents, whether intentional or not. National or State guidelines have proven to not be enough. In addition, banking rules that may be prudent in Manhattan or other Boroughs might not make sense in the Bronx. With the large disparity in the NYC real estate market thoughtful consideration to the needs of each borough must be considered. Please read his press release for more information.


SEC Halts Banks From Kicking Foreclosure Proposal Off the Ballot
NEW YORK, NY – City Comptroller John C. Liu announced today that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has upheld the NYC Pension Funds’ shareholder request that banks launch independent reviews of their mortgage and foreclosure practices.

The SEC’s rulings put the NYC Pension Fund request on the ballot at the Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo annual shareholder meetings this spring.

“An independent examination of bank foreclosure practices is needed to reassure shareholders and protect pensioners and taxpayers,” Comptroller Liu said. “The necessity for this becomes even clearer as the weeks and months tick by and more New Yorkers face losing their homes to foreclosure. Regrettably, the banks have failed us on this and even went so far as to try and kick us off the ballot, but the shareholders have prevailed.”

The SEC shot down the banks’ claims that they had already conducted independent reviews of their mortgage and foreclosure processes.

Despite banks’ claims that foreclosure problems are merely technical glitches, regulators have found that robo-signing of foreclosures, missing mortgage documents, and other problems have caused widespread economic damage. Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh testified to Congress in February that “critical deficiencies and shortcomings” in banks’ foreclosure procedures have resulted in violations of state and local laws and harm to the mortgage market and “the U.S. economy as a whole.”

The SEC allowed JPMorgan Chase to remove the NYC Pension Funds’ request from its spring agenda, accepting the company’s argument that another group of shareholders filed a similar proposal first.

The New York City Comptroller serves as the investment advisor to, custodian and trustee of the New York City Pension Funds. The New York City Pension Funds are comprised of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, New York City Police Pension Fund, New York City Fire Department Pension Fund and the Board of Education Retirement System. The New York City Pension Funds hold a combined 119,770,418 total shares in Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) for a combined asset value of $1,698,616,635.18 as of 3/21/2011.

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