Banks do the darndest things…
Here are just a few civil justice tidbits with a banking twist, for your weekend reading pleasure:
Inherited from the prior administration (surprise, surprise), here's something that's got some preemption, some bailout madness, and some consumer abuse all in one. The DOJ is supporting Bank of America in a case related to BofA taking elderly customers' social security and disability benefits to pay overdraft fees. California law forbids banks from seizing protected funds like social security benefits. From MoJo: "Even if Obama wanted to do right by the low-income and disabled citizens ripped off by the bank, the administration could be risking millions of taxpayer dollars [since we gave the bank bailout money] if it reversed course in the litigation and the verdict were restored."
This is a bit dated now, but Jed Lewison shares a clip of Rep. John Boehner saying that deregulation of the financial markets didn't happen, and thus didn't contribute to the current mess we're in. (He must have forgotten about the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which he supported and the Heritage Foundation praised as "the most significant deregulation of the financial services industry in over half a century.") Oopsies.
Good to see our money is being put to good use. Commonweal's Dave Johnson writes about how TARP recipients are using our money to actively lobby against consumer protections like the Arbitration Fairness Act, the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act, and the Mortgage Reform and Anit-Predatory Lending Act (among many others), while also lobbying to protect their ability to dish out big bonuses and avoid an increase in bank regulation. He argues that "it is time to open a discussion about whether any corporate funds - whether the company is a recipient of TARP funding or not - should be used to influence our government. We should be telling them what to do, not the other way around." Go Dave!