Yesterday, three Credit Suisse bankers were charged with fraud by the U.S. Attorney for the S.D.N.Y., Preet S. Bharara, for inflating value of mortgage bonds during financial crisis to inflate their own bonuses. Significantly, two of the three traders pleaded guilty yesterday. As a result, nobody can truthfully utter the line “there have been no Wall Street bankster convictions!” Of course, Wall Street banks like Goldman and Citibank had also entered into settlements with the SEC prior to this, but as a routine practice in such settlements, the banks didn’t admit to any wrongdoing. These successful prosecutions of the Credit Suisse traders are likely to lead to more convictions, as the two who plead guilty are cooperating with the U.S. Attorney. Other investigations are also pending against the Bank of New York Mellon and Deutsche Bank.
I’m sure there will be some critics who will characterize these prosecutions as too little, too late, and remain convinced that this administration simply doesn’t care to enforce criminal laws against the big Wall Street banks. Wrong. Mr. Bharara spoke to this point yesterday, “The number of prosecutions is not a function of resources, effort, commitment or courage. It is a function of the laws, the facts, and the painstaking nature of these investigations.”
This is bananas. From Stephen Foster at Addicting Info:
Two protesters involved with Occupy Santa Cruz in California walked into Bank of America earlier this week to close their own accounts as part of the national protest against the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street, which has only seen it’s profits soar since it nearly collapsed the economy back in 2008… Rather than allow their customers to close their accounts, they told them that “you can not be a protester and a customer at the same time.” The bank manager threatened to lock the doors and call the police to have their own customers arrested for the simple act of requesting the closure of their own accounts. The two women left the bank and called the police. The officer went into the bank and after talking to the manager, relayed a message to them. According to the bank manager, “If they came in with the signs and they were part of the protest earlier, then they are protesters and cannot be customers at the same time.”
Admittedly, I was skeptical of the video which is going viral on Twitter and which shows either police or security guards ushering into the bank a woman standing outside of a Citibank branch holding her checkbook and repeating, “I’m a customer!”
It is hard to discern exactly what is going on in this video, and wary of astroturfing, I was loathe to jump up and down about a video that (might) tell only part of the story:
Having seen Citibank’s press release on the matter, however, I have to call bullshit:
Remember, remember, to move from big bank to credit unions
I find the obsession with Guy Fawkes Day and the V for Vendetta masks to be somewhat ridiculous, to the extent that it advocates passivity while waiting for a black-caped savior to rescue the masses from government control. (Think about it — the downtrodden Brits in the film did little aside from show up at the alloted time and place wearing a creepy mask.)
Nonetheless, November 5 is as good a day as any to move from big banks to credit unions:
The growing anger directed at U.S. banks (especially the big ones that took federal bailout funds) over recent fee increases coalesced this weekend into a Facebook-driven campaign urging Americans to close their accounts at large banks and move their money to credit unions by Nov. 5.