The Illuminator returned to Wall Street earlier this week, and just in time for tax season. To celebrate the occasion, occupiers went and projected a Wii-mote controlled videogame where the player fights greedy corporate tax evaders on the wall of one such greedy corporate tax evader, Citibank.
A good time was had by all, and there are many more actions planned for the days ahead. Stay tuned!
I know 11,000 people who aren’t too excited about these “transformations.” Citigroup announced that it will absorb a tax charge of $1 billion for the quarter and eliminate about 11,000 jobs. The third-biggest U.S. banks CEO said that the move was a “logical” step in the bank’s “transformation.” The plan of restructuring also includes branch closings:
The latest eliminations amount to about 4.2 percent of Citigroup’s workforce of 262,000 people at the end of September. The largest share of reductions, about 6,200 jobs, will come from the global consumer-banking business, Citigroup said. The lender expects to sell or scale back consumer operations in Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey and Uruguay.
An additional 2,600 jobs will be cut in the operations and technology group and global functions. Citi Holdings, the unit disposing of unwanted assets, will eliminate about 350 positions.
The plan will save about $900 million in 2013, and projected annual savings will exceed $1.1 billion beginning in 2014, the company said. Annual revenue will drop about $300 million, according to the forecast. The $1 billion charge this quarter is before taxes. An additional $100 million of related charges will come in the first half of next year.
Those of you bankers who didn't have your jobs slashed, not to worry about your annual bonus. While it will be cut by 10%, you'll still receive it. What's that, you're crying over the 10%? Oh, good grief!
Three days before Connie Gretsch’s eviction hearing, she was shocked to receive good news: The Attorney General’s office had discovered that her prosecuting bank, Pacifica, did not own Connie’s south Minneapolis home, or even have a license to do business in Minnesota. Pacifica’s attorneys quickly called off the eviction hearing.
“I feel so lucky that we caught this in time,” said Connie. “How many people out there lost their home because of a bank error they never knew about?”
Pacifica has asked Citibank, which currently owns the property, not to pursue an eviction.
Connie celebrated with a BBQ for her neighborhood.
Last week, I shared the story of Colleen Mckee Espinosa, the single mother of three who was facing foreclosure after CitiBank refused to accept payment on her mortgage, after they moved up the due date for her payment without her knowledge. They also added thousands of dollars in attorney fees because the home went into foreclosure, making it impossible for her to catch up.
After media coverage in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the blog Crooks and Liars, and other outlets, Citibank officials contacted the family, and assured them they were doing everything they could to resolve the case, assigning them a contact in the “executive response unit.” Despite this, the bank is moving to auction the home at a sheriff’s sale this Wednesday at City Hall, after which time the bank would have no legal obligation to work with the family.
An official with CitiMortgage’s Executive Response Unit contacted the Espinosa family with news that Citibank had approved a loan modification that would keep the family in their home and reduce their payments by one-third on a 7.5 year payment plan. The dramatic news came less than 24 hours before the house was to be sold at auction on Wednesday, June 13.
The Espinosa's give thanks to all their supporters, and offer hope to others facing similar circumstances:
“I am deeply grateful to everyone from across the country who stood with our family as we fought our foreclosure,” said Nick Espinosa, Colleen’s son, and an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. “I’m inspired by the outpouring of community support, and it renews my commitment to stand with other families who are struggling to stay in their homes.”
“I’m incredibly proud of what this family has accomplished,” said Anthony Newby of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. “They’ve managed to rally hundreds of community members to stand with them to save their home. Their campaign will undoubtedly empower other families to stand up and do the same.”
Colleen Mckee Espinosa continued, “When I first learned we were in foreclosure, I felt ashamed and isolated, and sure we were going to lose our home. As I resolved to fight, I realized I had nothing to be ashamed of. If anyone should be ashamed, it’s the banks for tearing apart our communities after we bailed them out with our tax dollars. When we stand together we can win, and I believe thousands more will.”
Nick Espinosa continued, “This negotiation represents a victory not just for our family, but for millions of families facing foreclosures across the country. Countless families could stay in their homes if banks simply modified their loans based on the actual market value and reduced their principal, instead of the price to which banks inflated them before they crashed our economy. As with Monique White and Bobby Hull here in Minneapolis, and others standing up across the nation, we see that when a community stands behind a family and draws attention to their case, the banks are more than capable of solving it. If they can fix it for our family, they can fix it for millions of others.”
Occupy Homes Minnesota has been an amazing lifeline for the people of their state, and they remain dedicated to helping victims of bank fraud and foreclosure. To learn more about them and what they're up to, please visit their website Occupy Homes Minnesota: http://www.occupyhomesmn.org/
[Photo: Colleen and son Nick Espinosa, via Occupy Homes Minnesota.]
Colleen Mckee Espinosa is a single mother of three who is facing foreclosure after CitiBank refused to accept payment on her mortgage, having moved up the due date for her payment without her knowledge. They then added thousands of dollars in attorney fees because the home went into foreclosure, making it impossible for her to catch up.
Colleen and her family have lived in their Northeast Minneapolis home for 16 years, and although she only has six years left to pay off her home, the bank has been unwilling to modify her mortgage so that she and her family can stay in their community.
Colleen has worked as a registered nurse for over 25 years, serving and caring for others, and now she needs our support.
"I have decided that I'm not leaving my home until we get a good faith negotiation. I'm fighting to send the message to other people not to give up, because if you're isolated you can't fight these people." Said Mckee. "I'd tell the banks they better watch out because people are catching on to their game and a lot of people are going to fight back now."
Big banks, bailouts, and secret bailouts, the defective and even fraudulent mortgages that have already led to foreclosure on millions of American's homes; finally, a mainstream media news source is asking why none of the companies involved - or their executives - have been prosecuted.
Steve Kroft and 60 Minutes talks with two whistleblowers, Eileen Foster, a former senior executive at Countrywide Financial, and Richard Bowen, a former vice president at Citigroup.
In a script note from "60 Minutes" producer, James Jacoby, begins with "It's been three years since the financial crisis crippled the American economy, and much to the consternation of the general public and the demonstrators on Wall Street,(Emphasis mine) there has not been a single prosecution of a high-ranking Wall Street executive or major financial firm even though fraud and financial misrepresentations played a significant role in the meltdown."
A significant "win" for the Occupy Wall Street movement to be mentioned in such a groundbreaking investigative report? If nothing else, perhaps the Wall Street titans will cringe a little more with each spotting of a protest sign or "mic check."
Part one of the program begins, with the second part of the video at the bottom of the page, and a link to the final portion that's contained in the 60 Minutes Overtime report:
Steve Kroft: Do you believe that there are people at Countrywide who belong behind bars?
Eileen Foster: Yes.
Kroft: Do you want to give me their names?
Kroft: Would you give their names to a grand jury if you were asked?
But Eileen Foster has never been asked - and never spoken to the Justice Department - even though she was Countrywide's executive vice president in charge of fraud investigations. At the height of the housing bubble, Countrywide Financial was the largest mortgage lender in the country and the loans it made were among the worst, a third ending up in foreclosure or default, many because of mortgage fraud.