Spokespersons for Bank of America and Brookfield declined to comment.Bank of America, which agreed to to buy Merrill at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, has been reducing its space in the building. The Charlotte, North Carolina, bank has a tower in Midtown Manhattan that officially opened last year.The sale is the latest move by Bank of America to shed assets as it looks to build capital to meet new international standards and to cover mortgage losses.
Okay, listen up, troops! I’ve got your duty assignments for the anti-Gaddafi army! Smith, you’re riding in a tank. Jones, you’re a bombardier. Williams, you fire rocket-propelled grenades and blow up big stuff all day long. Johnson, you’re on Bike Patrol. Williams, you’re… Um, excuse me, Sarge? What is it, Johnson? Well, you know, I mean it doesn’t sound very cool to just ride a bike. Really, Johnson? But it’s a ten-speed two-wheeler, very shiny, and you get to shoot your AK-47 from the handlebars. Yeah, but it sounds kind of dangerous, what with all the heavy weaponry around. I mean, I’ll be pedaling along the front lines at 15 miles an hour. How fast can those artillery shells travel? I think they go a little faster than that, Johnson. You’d better try to pedal harder… Join the Oddly Enough blog network Follow this blog on Twitter at rbasler An anti-Gaddafi fighter rides on a bicycle as he heads to the frontline in the center of Sirte October 12, 2011. More stuff from Oddly Enough
By Dave ClarkeWASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said on Thursday it will make oversight of the mortgage servicing industry a top priority as it ramps up its oversight of banks.Numerous state and government agencies are examining bank foreclosure practices and whether the proper legal steps are being taken by servicers, who collect and manage loan payments, when a borrower becomes delinquent on a loan.”We are going to take a close and measured view to ensure that servicers and financial institutions are in compliance with the federal consumer financial laws,” Raj Date, the Treasury official leading the bureau, said in a conference call with reporters.The scrutiny being put on banks’ from several agencies could lead to penalties or settlement figures in the billions.A senior CFPB official told reporters on the conference call the agency has a wide range of actions it can take, including imposing fines, depending on what problems it finds during examinations.The bureau made the announcement about its servicing focus as it released a broader guide detailing how it will routinely supervise banks and the financial products they provide, such as credit cards and mortgages.The agency will initially focus its supervision efforts on the 105 banks, thrifts and credit unions that have more than $10 billion in assets.With regard to mortgage servicing, the agency said that it will first look at home loans in default to make sure the proper information about loan modification programs and the foreclosure process is being provided to borrowers.Among the areas it will scrutinize is whether a borrower being moved through the foreclosure process is being charged duplicative or illegal fees.Date said the servicing industry is particularly susceptible to consumer abuses because borrowers can not choose who collects their payments and because servicers do not get paid more to handle foreclosures, which are more time consuming and complicated.”Given those structural problems, it’s no surprise that the mortgage servicing market has been plagued by pervasive and profound consumer protection issues,” Date said.The bureau was created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law and it officially opened its doors for business on July 21.ONGOING PROBESThe servicing issue burst into public view last year when government agencies began investigating bank mortgage practices, including the use of “robo-signers” to sign hundreds of unread foreclosure documents a day.States and the Justice Department are currently trying to negotiate a settlement with Bank of America Corp , JPMorgan Chase & Co , Citigroup Inc , Wells Fargo & Co and Ally Financial.JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Thursday during an earnings conference call that these talks are getting “bogged down.”In April, banks entered into a settlement with the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the now defunct Office of Thrift Supervision on steps that have to be taken, such as providing borrowers with a single point of contact for questions.Banking regulators have said they anticipate a monetary penalty to be issued later, the size of which will depend on the problems turned up by investigations, currently being conducted, into foreclosures initiated in 2009 and 2010.
Oct 12 (Reuters) - MetLife Inc , the largest U.S. life insurance company, said on Wednesday it might sell its traditional mortgage lending business.Dealing with the changing mortgage lending market will divert too many resources from MetLife’s insurance businesses, the company said.MetLife has also said it might sell its depository business and de-register as a bank holding company.MetLife Home Loans will continue to make traditional mortgages while the insurer decides whether to sell the business. The company said it will continue to service its mortgage clients.MetLife Home Loans, a division of MetLife Bank, began making traditional mortgages and reverse mortgages in 2008.A MetLife spokesman said it would continue to offer reverse mortgages, a business many other financial companies are exiting. He added that MetLife is “continuously evaluat(ing) all of our businesses based on market conditions and the regulatory environment.”Regulatory issues are becoming more prominent for MetLife given its potential for being tagged a “systemically important financial institution” by the Financial Stability Oversight Council.Many analysts think it is inevitable the company will be tagged, which will bring Federal Reserve oversight and stricter controls over risk and capital.
Last month, the league had said the team’s lawyers — Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP — were putting the interest of the owner, Frank McCourt, ahead of the baseball team they represent and should be disqualified.Joseph Farnan, a retired federal judge, was appointed mediator last week to try to settle the battle for control of the league against team owner Frank McCourt.In response to the league withdrawing its motion, Dodgers said the withdrawal was “appropriate” and “ends an unnecessary attempt by MLB to divert the focus in these bankruptcy proceedings from maximizing the value of its estate.”In a separate filing on Tuesday, Fox Sports, a division of News Corp , objected to the proposed auction of the right to broadcast Dodgers’ games, in a bid to bring in billions of dollars.In September, the Dodgers proposed an auction of the rights to broadcast its games. The auction is expected to bring in billions of dollars to stabilize the team’s long-term finances and allow it to emerge from bankruptcy.Last month, Fox had sued the team to stop the proposed sale of television rights and had said any steps taken by the team to sell media rights would be in violation of its current broadcast agreement with Fox.In order to conduct the auction, the team had to break its current broadcast agreement with Fox, which grants Fox exclusive negotiating rights till November 2012.The team filed for bankruptcy in June after Major League Baseball’s commissioner, Bud Selig, rejected a proposed $3 billion, 17-year media rights deal with Fox.The case is In re: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-12010.