Friday, December 10, 2010

This Week in Bank Failures

Bank of America agreed to pay $137 million to settle a government case in which it was accused of bribing municipal employees to win business in connection with bond issues. In the settlement, the bank did not admit doing anything wrong. Separately, the bank is talking about a TARP exit as early as this month.

There may not have been any breakthroughs in the investigation into foreclosure error in recent weeks, but a steady stream of revelations and court decisions is eroding confidence in the paperwork side of the mortgage business. In particular, more cases are coming to light in which banks filed foreclosures against borrowers who were current in their payments, along with huge numbers of cases cases in which banks, apparently confused about the status of a mortgage, improperly refused payments from borrowers who were otherwise current in their payments.

Two small bank failures were reported tonight: Earthstar Bank in Pennsylvania and Paramount Bank in Michigan. In each case, the bulk of the deposits and assets were transferred to another local bank.