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Bank of America agrees to pay borrowers $108 million

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Bank of America will pay $108 million to settle federal charges that Countrywide Financial Corp., which it acquired nearly two years ago, collected outsized fees from borrowers facing foreclosure.

It's the latest evidence of misconduct at Countrywide, once an industry giant that has since fallen. Last year, three top executives, including former CEO Angelo Mozilo, were charged with civil fraud and insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The settlement, which seeks to refund money to about 200,000 borrowers, was announced Monday by the Federal Trade Commission. It is the largest mortgage industry settlement for the agency, which oversees non-banking functions such as debt collection.

FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz accused Countrywide of "callous conduct, which took advantage of consumers already at the end of their financial rope."

Bank of America purchased Countrywide in July 2008. The actions in the case took place before the acquisition.

The Charlotte, N.C.,-based bank, which did not admit or deny the charges, said it agreed to the settlement "to avoid the expense and distraction associated with litigating the case."

Countrywide hit borrowers who were behind on their mortgages with fees of several thousand dollars at times, the FTC said. The fees were for such services as property inspections and landscaping that far exceeded market rates. Countrywide created subsidiaries to hire vendors, which marked up the price for such services, the agency said.

"Countrywide profited from making risky loans to homeowners during the boom years, and then they profited again when the loans failed," Leibowitz said.

It will take several months to contact the affected borrowers, Leibowitz said. He called Countrywide's record-keeping "beyond abysmal."

Banks have not done enough to prevent foreclosures because of the income they receive from these sort of fees, consumer advocates allege. In a 2007 conference call with investors that was cited by FTC lawyers, a top Countrywide executive called such fees "part of our diversification strategy" as foreclosures soared.

"This is an ongoing problem," said Diane Thompson, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center. "Those default fees are huge barriers to loan modifications."

The FTC also alleged that Countrywide made false claims to borrowers in bankruptcy about the amount owed or the size of their loans -- and failed to tell those borrowers about fees or other charges. The settlement requires Bank of America to give bankrupt borrowers monthly notices about what they owe, including fees.

Bank of America has dealt with allegations of deceptive practices at Countrywide since acquiring the mortgage company. In October 2008, it reached a settlement with attorneys general agreeing to modify troubled mortgages with up to $8.4 billion in interest rate and principal reductions for nearly 400,000 customers.

It has abandoned the tarnished Countrywide name and remains the largest collector of mortgage payments in the country.

The FTC is charged with enforcing federal laws designed to prevent abuses by companies that collect consumers' debts. That's because mortgage-collection activities are typically handled outside the oversight of federal banking regulators.

Critics say the agency lacks the expertise or resources to enforce those laws. A sweeping financial overhaul being negotiated by Congress would create a new agency focused specifically on consumer financial protection.

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Evidence of Brian Moynihan, Bank of America Racketeering Filed with Law Enforcement, US Congress -Read link to story at piggybankblog.com

If it walks like a piggy, talks like a piggy, by golly it's a PIGGY!


BofA and it's CEO Brian Moynihan reminds me of that song by John Lennon and George Harrison titled "Piggies" I invite you to listen to this song on youtube and see if it appropriately fits.


Have you seen the little piggies

Crawling in the dirt

And for all the little piggies

Life is getting worse

Always having dirt to play around in.

Have you seen the bigger piggies

In their starched white shirts

You will find the bigger piggies

Stirring up the dirt

Always have clean shirts to play around in.

In their ties with all their backing

They don't care what goes on around

In their eyes there's something lacking

What they need's a **** good whacking.

Everywhere there's lots of piggies

Living piggy lives

You can see them out for dinner

With their piggy wives

Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

When I filed my lawsuit against Bank of America, myself and United Law Group thought of the many others out there in the same situation. It was then that we decided to educate the public on what these piggy banks are doing, as well as unite us all together as one voice. Please help me turn this David vs. Goliath modification process, into a Goliath vs. Goliath.

Please stand with me and United Law Group and send an email to Bank of America that states that we will no longer tolerate their potentially illegal, fraudulent, irregular and abusive business methods.

So please send your email directly to Bank of America and include the following:

1. Your name

2. Your complaint concerning your experience with Bank of America.

3. Please end your email "I support John Wright vs. BofA Lawsuit!"

4. Please send a copy of your email to johns-wright@hotmail.com

5. Please send your email to BofA CEO Brian Moynihan:



John Wright Vs. Bank of America-

Please join my fight or show your support through your comments at www.unitedlawgroup.com or find information and friends at piggybankblog.com

Divided we might have fell America. UNITED WE MUST STAND!



-- Posted by wright4ulg on Tue, Jun 8, 2010, at 12:46 PM

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