Behind the blinds at
Bank of America
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
August 3, 2009
Bank of America pays $33M SEC fine
over Merrill bonuses
By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON – Bank of America Corp. has agreed to pay a $33 million penalty to settle government charges that it misled investors about Merrill Lynch's plans to pay bonuses to its executives, regulators said Monday.
In seeking approval to buy Merrill, Bank of America told investors that Merrill would not pay year-end bonuses without Bank of America's consent. But the Securities and Exchange Commission said Bank of America had authorized New York-based Merrill to pay up to $5.8 billion in bonuses.
That rendered a statement Bank of America mailed to 283,000 shareholders of both companies about the Merrill deal "materially false and misleading," the SEC said in a statement.
Bank of America agreed to pay $33 million to settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations. The settlement is subject to court approval.
"Bank of America believes that the settlement ... represents a constructive conclusion to this issue," company spokesman Scott Silvestri said in an e-mailed statement.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who referred the case to the SEC in April, said his investigation is continuing. The SEC said its probe also is ongoing.
Bank of America, along with Citigroup Inc. and insurance giant American International Group, is among the largest recipients of government aid. It has received $45 billion from the federal $700 billion bank rescue program.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America agreed to purchase Merrill in a deal that was hastily arranged Sept. 13-14, 2008, the same weekend that Lehman Brothers collapsed. Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis and Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain announced the deal Sept. 15.
The acquisition came as Lehman's collapse caused panic in the financial markets and investment banks such as Merrill faced billions of losses on soured mortgage investments.
Merrill ended up paying $3.6 billion in bonuses in 2008, the SEC said, even though it lost $27.6 billion that year, a record for the firm.
Bank of America included a copy of the merger agreement with the proxy statement that it mailed to shareholders of both firms in November. That agreement said Merrill would not pay discretionary bonuses prior to the deal's closing, the SEC said.
A separate agreement authorizing the bonuses wasn't mailed to shareholders, the SEC said.
Shareholders in both companies voted to approve the acquisition Dec.
BOFA FINED 33M FOR MERRILL BONUSES
March 18, 2009
Judge rules against Merrill on keeping bonuses secret
Tags: Bank of America Commerce, Merrill Lynch, Wall Street
by Rudy Sutherland
(NEW YORK) A New York state judge ruled Wednesday afternoon that New York’s attorney general could disclose the names of Merrill Lynch executives who received 2008 bonuses as part of his investigation of the firm.
“The record does not support the intervenors’ claim that the employee compensation information is a trade secret,” Justice Bernard J. Fried of New York State Supreme Court wrote, referring to Merrill and its corporate parent, Bank of America.
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has been demanding the names of Merrill’s 200 most highly paid employees, as part of an investigation into Bank of America’s acquisition of the firm, which was completed at the beginning of the year. The names could be released as early as Thursday.
Lawyers for Merrill and Bank of America argued last Friday that the names should not be disclosed publicly, since they were as much a trade secret as the recipe for Carvel ice cream.
“I conclude there is no legal basis for the proposed petitions to quash, fix conditions or modify subpoena and for a protective order,” Judge Fried said in his ruling.
“Today’s decision in the Bank of America case is a victory for taxpayers,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “Let the sun shine in. Justice Fried’s decision will now lift the shroud of secrecy surrounding the $3.6 billion in premature bonuses Merrill Lynch rushed out in early December. Taxpayers demand and deserve transparency and now they will finally get it.”
Merrill employees were collectively given billions of dollars in bonuses shortly before its sale to Bank of America closed. Around the same time, Bank of America learned that Merrill’s fourth-quarter loss would be much larger than expected, and the shortfall forced Bank of America’s to go to the government to seek more financial aid.
Among other things, Mr. Cuomo has alleged that Merrill misled Congress about the timing of the bonuses.
As part of his investigation, Mr. Cuomo’s office has interviewed Kenneth D. Lewis, Bank of America’s chief executive; John Finnegan, the chief executive of Chubb, who headed Merrill’s compensation committee; and John A. Thain, Merrill’s former chief executive.
Bank of America has tried to prevent the names from being made public, arguing that it would cause the company “grave harm,” making it easier for rivals to poach employees and invading workers’ privacy.
December 22, 2008
Where'd the bailout money go?
Shhhh, it's a secret
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer Matt Apuzzo
WASHINGTON – It's something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where's the money going?
But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.
"We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to."
The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?
None of the banks provided specific answers.
"We're not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking," said Barry Koling, a spokesman for Atlanta, Ga.-based SunTrust Banks Inc., which got $3.5 billion in taxpayer dollars.
Some banks said they simply didn't know where the money was going.
"We manage our capital in its aggregate," said Regions Financial Corp. spokesman Tim Deighton, who said the Birmingham, Ala.-based company is not tracking how it is spending the $3.5 billion it received as part of the financial bailout.
The answers highlight the secrecy surrounding the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which earmarked $700 billion — about the size of the Netherlands' economy — to help rescue the financial industry. The Treasury Department has been using the money to buy stock in U.S. banks, hoping that the sudden inflow of cash will get banks to start lending money.
There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money. Lawmakers summoned bank executives to Capitol Hill last month and implored them to lend the money — not to hoard it or spend it on corporate bonuses, junkets or to buy other banks. But there is no process in place to make sure that's happening and there are no consequences for banks who don't comply.
"It is entirely appropriate for the American people to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent in private industry," said Elizabeth Warren, the top congressional watchdog overseeing the financial bailout.
But, at least for now, there's no way for taxpayers to find that out.
Pressured by the Bush administration to approve the money quickly, Congress attached nearly no strings on the $700 billion bailout in October. And the Treasury Department, which doles out the money, never asked banks how it would be spent.
"Those are legitimate questions that should have been asked on Day One," said Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., a House Financial Services Committee member who opposed the bailout as it was rushed through Congress. "Where is the money going to go to? How is it going to be spent? When are we going to get a record on it?"
Nearly every bank AP questioned — including Citibank and Bank of America, two of the largest recipients of bailout money — responded with generic public relations statements explaining that the money was being used to strengthen balance sheets and continue making loans to ease the credit crisis.
A few banks described company-specific programs, such as JPMorgan Chase's plan to lend $5 billion to nonprofit and health care companies next year. Richard Becker, senior vice president of Wisconsin-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp., said the $1.75 billion in bailout money allowed the bank to temporarily stop foreclosing on homes.
But no bank provided even the most basic accounting for the federal money.
"We're choosing not to disclose that," said Kevin Heine, spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, which received about $3 billion.
Others said the money couldn't be tracked. Bob Denham, a spokesman for North Carolina-based BB&T Corp., said the bailout money "doesn't have its own bucket." But he said taxpayer money wasn't used in the bank's recent purchase of a Florida insurance company. Asked how he could be sure, since the money wasn't being tracked, Denham said the bank would have made that deal regardless.
Others, such as Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Carissa Ramirez, offered to discuss the matter with reporters on condition of anonymity. When AP refused, Ramirez sent an e-mail saying: "We are going to decline to comment on your story."
Most banks wouldn't say why they were keeping the details secret.
"We're not sharing any other details. We're just not at this time," said Wendy Walker, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Comerica Inc., which received $2.25 billion from the government.
Heine, the New York Mellon Corp. spokesman who said he wouldn't share spending specifics, added: "I just would prefer if you wouldn't say that we're not going to discuss those details."
The banks which came closest to answering the questions were those, such as U.S. Bancorp and Huntington Bancshares Inc., that only recently received the money and have yet to spend it. But neither provided anything more than a generic summary of how the money would be spent.
Lawmakers say they want to tighten restrictions on the remaining, yet-to-be-released $350 billion block of bailout money before more cash is handed out. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the department is trying to step up its monitoring of bank spending.
"What we've been doing here is moving, I think, with lightning speed to put necessary programs in place, to develop them, implement them, and then we need to monitor them while we're doing this," Paulson said at a recent forum in New York. "So we're building this organization as we're going."
Warren, the congressional watchdog appointed by Democrats, said her oversight panel will try to force the banks to say where they've spent the money.
"It would take a lot of nerve not to give answers," she said.
But Warren said she's surprised she even has to ask.
"If the appropriate restrictions were put on the money to begin with, if the appropriate transparency was in place, then we wouldn't be in a position where you're trying to call every recipient and get the basic information that should already be in public documents," she said.
Garrett, the New Jersey congressman, said the nation might never get a clear answer on where hundreds of billions of dollars went.
"A year or two ago, when we talked about spending $100 million for a bridge to nowhere, that was considered a scandal," he said.
September 15, 2008
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
conference call highlights
Top management from Bank of America Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. held a conference call Monday morning to fill Wall Street in on their $50 billion merger.
Among the highlights of the call are:
The structure of the management team is yet to be determined
Both Bank of America and Merrill Lynch said they have nominal exposure to Lehman
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2009 and provide cost savings of $7 billion
Merrill holds just under 50% of BlackRock Inc, which has a market value of about $14 billion; "there are no quirks when it comes to that holding."
Bank of America is comfortable with the progress Merrill Lynch has made in reducing their risk.
During the Q&A, Bank of America's brass said they agreed to pay $29 per share in spite of the market turmoil because "we viewed it as such a strategic opportunity that we decided not to roll the dice." Bank of America said that it was concerned that another bidder might come in and take a large equity position in the company.
When asked how it would rebuild the capital base after swallowing both Countrywide and Merrill Lynch, Bank of America hedged on answering, only saying that "all options will be evaluated" and that they "plan to have a substantial position in China Construction Bank for a long time to come."
Commenting on Merrill Lynch's brokers, Lewis said that a stay-bonus is "something we have the capacity to do. We plan to do something, because they are the crown jewel of the company. ... The sweet spot for Merrill is [BofA's] client group. The financial advisors need to get ready to receive a lot of referrals." - George White
From: Harrison Thomas LaTour,
Another financial enterprise of the Pope in the U.S. is Bank of America. They have done a fairly good jon to conceal the Vatican ownership.... They paid for a puff piece book, called, "Biography of A Bank- The Story of Bank of America N.T. and S.A." by Marquis James and Bessie Rowland James. Published 1954 by Harper & Brothers, and more or less the standard reference work on the bank's history.
They would have you believe that Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association was at the time of the book "the largest bank in the world". Bank mergers now occurring so rapidly, it is hard to say which is NOW the world's largest Bank. They would further have you believe that this money ship, up to 1930 called Bank of Italy, was founded by Amadeo Peter Giannini. And that the Bank was able to spread out all over the world because Giannini was so nice in helping people following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. They were kept out of being a New York money center bank by the agent and front for the British Monarchy, J.P.Morgan & Company.
By way of that book and the publicity flacks that followed over the years, Bank of America is supposedly owned principally by numerous of their small account holders. A fairy tale supreme. By the 1970s, Bank America, the holding company, was owned principally by the Vatican and the Jesuits, the Pope's clever army who occassionally see fit to rebuff the Pontiff. In the 1970s, the ownership broadened out to include the French Rothschilds, wrongly identified by know-nothings as "Jewish bankers", actually very Pro-Vatican into many joint finances not exactly compatible with ordinary Jews or the State of Israel.
By the early 1990s, Bank America stock was steadily declining. More numerous than the traditional Italian and Sicilian mafia, the Japanese underworld, the Yakuza, bought their way into Bank America, becoming a major joint owner. The Yakuza now owns almost every bank headquartered in California.
The book "Yakuza" by Dubro and Kaplan, tells a lot about the Japanese mafia. In Osaka, Japan, the Yakuza is actually an adjunct of the local police. According to a discussion by the authors on a radio program, more than half of the new buildings built downtown Chicago in the 1980s are owned by the Yakuza.
Later in the 1990s, Bank of America and the Giannini family merged their interests publicly with Continental Bank, although the Chicago-based and San Francisco-based money ships had been more or less joined at the hip privately long before that. The office buildings in which are also housed the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, are reportedly bankrupt because of low occupancy but owned reportedly by the Yakuza.
Mar 14, 2008
"SPITZER WAS SILENCED."
THE $200 BILLION BAIL-OUT FOR PREDATOR BANKS
AND SPITZER CHARGES ARE INTIMATELY LINKED
By Greg Palast
Reporting for Air America Radio's Clout*
While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an 'escort' $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush's new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.
Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there's a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush's man Bernanke was using ours.
This week, Bernanke's Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks' mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.
Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers' bordello: Eliot Spitzer.
Who are they kidding? Spitzer's lynching and the bankers' enriching are intimately tied.
HOW? FOLLOW THE MONEY.
The press has swallowed Wall Street's line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn't afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That's blaming the victim.
Here's what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the 'sub-prime' mortgage and it's variants including loans with teeny 'introductory' interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called 'Countrywide' became America's top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chuck of these 'sub-prime's.
Here's how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 a month payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain't worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the 'discount' they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. Grinnings move into their Toyota.
Now, what kind of American is 'sub-prime'. Guess. No peeking. Here's a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren't 'stupid', they had no choice. They were 'steered' as it's called in the mortgage sharking business.
"Steering," sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called 'fraudulent conveyance' or 'predatory lending' under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.
But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hardy "it was OK now to steer'm, fake'm, charge'm and take'm."
BUT THERE WAS THIS ANNOYING PARTY-POOPER.
The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.
Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush's regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of 'federal pre-emption', Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.
Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer's investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush's banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.
Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory enablers in the investment banking community. Behind Countrywide was the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup's Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this through a bit of financial legerdemain called 'securitization.'
What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the Grinnings, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into 'tranches' of bonds which were stamped 'AAA' - top grade - by bond rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe investments to US school district pension funds and town governments in Finland (really).
When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses. Countrywide's top man, Angelo Mozilo, will 'earn' a $77 million buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million - over half a billion dollars - he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.
BUT THERE WERE RUMBLINGS THAT THE PARTY WOULD SOON BE OVER.
Angry regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide's stock was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.
Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That's Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.
The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the 'public treasure' and got to keep the Grinning's house. There was no 'quid' of a foreclosure moratorium for the 'pro quo' of public bail-out. Not one family was 'saved,' but not one banker was left behind.
Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo's Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their company's stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.
And that very same day the bail-out was decided - what a coinkydink! - the man called "The Sheriff of Wall Street" was cuffed.
SPITZER WAS SILENCED.
Do I believe the banks called Justice and said "Take him down today!" Naw, that's not how the system works. But the big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press, one was 'Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer' - made clear to Bush's enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn't Bin Laden.
It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:
'Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which he federal government was turning a blind eye.'
Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline: 'was the 'Predator Lenders' Partner in Crime.' The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.
Spitzer wrote: When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably."
FALLEN ON HIS OWN GUN
But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story - of Bush and his bankers - will not be told by history at all ''now that the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.''
A note on 'Prosecutorial Indiscretion.'
Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for air-time with 60 Minutes. I'm not allowed to tell you the prosecutor's name, but I want to mention he was recently seen shouting: "Florida is Rudi country! Florida is Rudi country!"
Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It's up to something called 'prosecutorial discretion.'
Funny thing, this "discretion." For example, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him in diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.
Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer - rarely done in these cases - was made at the 'discretion' of Bush's Justice Department.
Or maybe we should say, 'indiscretion.'
* Listen to Palast on Clout at http://www.GregPalast.com
Greg Palast, former investigator of financial fraud, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
Fwd. by the Foreign Press Foundation - Related links:
* But where does all the loot go, also via the 'Central Banks' many people are wondering? Well, for instance via the privately owned Bank of England, and all other so called 'central banks' of this cartel, it is 'recycled' through the rather secret 'head office' of this London group in Basle, Switzerland. The likewise privately owned 'Bank of International Settlements', the BIS, which is functioning as one of the main 'central banks' to central banks. And it is difficult to believe, but their BIS bank has greater immunity than a sovereign nation, is accountable to no one, runs global monetary affairs and is privately owned. - BIS Url.: http://www.augustreview.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7&Itemid=4
And it may be difficult for many of us to grasp, but it is true: none of the humanoids involved in 'The City', at the by them owned 'Bank of England' or at the Swiss based BIS is ever anywhere on earth accountable for what is done to you, your family or friends, or anybody else, including countries and continents. The 'Board' has all the same names, the known vultures are there, like Wolfowitz, Greenspan, Bernanke etc. - as their money-printing business in the US - the Federal Reserve which also has the cartel as private banking owners. The bookkeepers and usurers are absolutely immune and there is NO law nor any kind of court on this earth which ever can stop them. They think...
Many of them operate from 'The City' their own 'state within a state' in London, England, where the 'evil empire' can be found and the 'Board of Directors' of the so called 'Evil empire' - their Animal Farm - which is built on the corpses of millions of human beings. For those who don't know it yet. - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/2zj7wl
* The "visible and audible leaders" are mere puppets who dance on command. They have no power. They have no authority. In spite of all the outward show they are mere pawns in the game being played by the financial elite. - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/2zj7wl
* HITLER: AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN? - History's warning regarding a compliant media. - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/2xcbce
*NEWSPAPERS (AND OTHER MEDIA) MAINTAIN THAT THEY ARE ENTITLED BY A “PRIVILEGE” TO LIE, etc., by proxy – that is, by printing the lies, etc. of others without verification and/or qualification. Yet, that is not the whole of it. - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/3a8c9p
* WHY U.S. AMERICANS (AND MANY IN OTHER COUNTRIES) WILL BELIEVE ALMOST ANYTHING THEIR 'GOVERNMENT' AND PROPAGANDA MEDIA TELL THEM - Url.: http://www.rense.com/general78/believe.htm
* THE US IS A 'CRIMOCRACY' - Christopher Bollyn: "This is how the U.S. government, which I call a "crimocracy" works. -
* FPF-COPYRIGHT NOTICE - In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107 - any copyrighted work in this message is distributed by the Foreign Press Foundation under fair use, without profit or payment, to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the information. Url.: http://tinyurl.com/3z3r6
FOREIGN PRESS FOUNDATION
Editor: Henk Ruyssenaars
For more, GO TO > > > Confessions of a Whistleblower; Nests Along Wall Street; The Silence of The Whistleblowers
February 13, 2007
Bank of Illegal Aliens in America
By Michelle Malkin
Higher standards...except for illegal aliens
Bank of America has introduced a new credit especially and exclusively for law-breaking immigrants. Really. The story is on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today. It's subscription-only. Here are the details:
In the latest sign of the U.S. banking industry's aggressive pursuit of the Hispanic market, Bank of America Corp. has quietly begun offering credit cards to customers without Social Security numbers -- typically illegal immigrants.
In recent years, banks across the country have begun offering checking accounts and, in some cases, mortgages to the nation's fast-growing ranks of undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic. But these immigrants generally haven't been able to get major credit cards, making it hard for them to develop a credit history and expand their purchasing power.
The new Bank of America program is open to people who lack both a Social Security number and a credit history, as long as they have held a checking account with the bank for three months without an overdraft. Most adults in the U.S. who don't have a Social Security number are undocumented immigrants.
The Charlotte, N.C., banking giant tested the program last year at five branches in Los Angeles, and last week expanded it to 51 branches in Los Angeles County, home to the largest concentration of illegal immigrants in the U.S. The bank hopes to roll out the program nationally later this year.
The banking giant salivating over the massive illegal alien market insists it's doing nothing wrong:
Bank of America defends the program, saying it complies with U.S. banking and antiterrorism laws. Company executives say that the initiative isn't about politics, but rather about meeting the needs of an untapped group of potential customers.
"These people are coming here for quality of life, and they deserve somebody to give them a chance to achieve that quality of life," says Brian Tuite, the bank's director of Latin America card operations and one of the architects of the program.
BoA is defying federal immigration laws:
1907 Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324(a) Offenses
Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324(a) defines several distinct offenses related to aliens. Subsection 1324(a)(1)(i)-(v) prohibits alien smuggling, domestic transportation of unauthorized aliens, concealing or harboring unauthorized aliens, encouraging or inducing unauthorized aliens to enter the United States, and engaging in a conspiracy or aiding and abetting any of the preceding acts. Subsection 1324(a)(2) prohibits bringing or attempting to bring unauthorized aliens to the United States in any manner whatsoever, even at a designated port of entry. Subsection 1324(a)(3).
Encouraging/Inducing -- Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who -- encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.
Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting -- Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.
Penalties -- The basic statutory maximum penalty for violating 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(i) and (v)(I) (alien smuggling and conspiracy) is a fine under title 18, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both. With regard to violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(ii)-(iv) and (v)(ii), domestic transportation, harboring, encouraging/inducing, or aiding/abetting, the basic statutory maximum term of imprisonment is 5 years, unless the offense was committed for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in which case the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years. In addition, significant enhanced penalties are provided for in violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1) involving serious bodily injury or placing life in jeopardy. Moreover, if the violation results in the death of any person, the defendant may be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years. The basic penalty for a violation of subsection 1324(a)(2) is a fine under title 18, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(A). Enhanced penalties are provided for violations involving bringing in criminal aliens, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(i), offenses done for commercial advantage or private financial gain, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(ii), and violations where the alien is not presented to an immigration officer immediately upon arrival, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(iii). A mandatory minimum three year term of imprisonment applies to first or second violations of § 1324(a)(2)(B)(i) or (B)(ii). Further enhanced punishment is provided for third or subsequent offenses.
So what is the Bush Department of Homeland Security doing? Using the BoA outrage to argue for its amnesty plan that would reward illegal aliens en masse! They do not get it:
Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said banking products aimed at illegal immigrants "reinforce the need for a temporary worker program" that the Bush administration has been promoting. That program would screen, tax and otherwise regulate immigrant workers and, the administration contends, would squeeze out illegal workers who now use forged or stolen documents to get jobs, driver's licenses and occasionally credit.
Dios mio. Banking products aimed at illegal immigrants do not "reinforce the need for a temporary worker program." They reinforce the need to enforce the borders, strengthen interior enforcement of immigration laws, and punish companies openly flouting the rule of law.
Score another victory for phony baloney homeland security.
Fun fact: Bush's first Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (2003-2005), Eduardo Aguirre, was President of International Private Banking for Bank of America, where he worked for 24 years....
Flashback: Banking on illegal immigration
Flashback: Banking on American stupidity
Flashback: Businessweek "Embracing Illegals - Companies are getting hooked on the
buying power of 11 million undocumented immigrants"
Bank of America
Bank of America based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the second largest commercial bank in the United States, measured in assets, and the third-largest company in the world by the 2006 Forbes Global 2000. The Bank traces its roots back to the Bank of Massachusetts, founded in 1784, making it the second-oldest bank in the United States.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_America)
Bank of America [which had been the third biggest banking corporation behind Citicorp Inc.) said Monday that its acquisition of Fleet will give it about 33 million customers and 2.5 million business clients in the United States and 34 countries." The acquisition will move Bank of America to second place in terms of assets behind Citigroup ....and ahead of "J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. with more than $740 billion in assets, according to a ranking published earlier this year by the trade publication American Banker.
Bank of America had offices in WTC1 on 9/11 and survived 2 casualties out of 400 employees which is not much considering that they had offices as high up as the 80th floor. Bank of America was also one of the inside traders on 9/11. There are also $383-million in securities related to a Bank of America Corp. loan involving World Trade Center 7. 
BCCI's founder, Agha Hasan Abedi, started the bank in Pakistan in 1972. Abedi had previously set up the United Bank of Pakistan in 1959. Following the nationalization of United Bank in 1971 he sought to create a new supranational banking entity. BCCI was created with capital from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, emir of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the Bank of America (25%) and, allegedly, the CIA. It is claimed that the CIA were seeking a funding route for the Afghan Mujahideen, similar to the Investors Overseas Service and the Nugan Hand Bank in the 1970s. However, the vast majority of BCCI's assets were initially from Abu Dhabi. 
The Bank of America became a shareholder alongside Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan; Kamal Adham, Saudi Arabia's former head of intelligence; and Faisal Al-Fulaij, president of Kuwait Airways; as well as rulers from the different emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.  (http://www.the-catbird-seat.net/BinLaden.htm )
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From the Forbidden Truth
U.S. Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy
and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden
By Jean-Charles Brisard & Guillaume Dasqauié
Investcorp Investment Holdings Corp., is registered in the Cayman Islands, and its main subsidiary overseeing international activities, Investcorp SA, is registered in Luxembourg.
Inspired by the movement toward autonomy and the financial emancipation of the Persian Gulf after the first oil crisis - especially in view of large Western financial institutions - Investcorp was established on similar principles to those that led to the creation of the BCCI in 1972. Though the two entities are not in the same industries - the BCCI is a banking institution, while Investcorp is meant to be an investment company - they were both created with the joint support of the Emirate authorities, Saudi investors, and Western banks (Bank of America in the case of the BCCI, and Chase Manhattan in the case of Investcorp)
Five of Bank of America's senior officers were either on BCCI's board of directors or helped to manage Abedi's bank. For the nest decade the two banks would move billions of dollars a week through each other's international offices, and the Bank of America would be an invaluable, if hidden, ally, since it would continue to accept BCCI's letter-of-credit business after virtually no other Western bank would touch it. Indeed, it could be argued that Bank of America became the single most important financial institution helping BCCI stay afloat.
In the United States alone, Bank of America transferred more than $1 billion a day for BCCI until the moment of BCCI's global seizure in July 1991.
Just how far BCCI had veered from prudent banking practices was glaringly obvious as far back as 1978. That year the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the largest U.S. regulator of banks, had run its own audit on BCCI, part of a larger audit of Bank of America, which then held 30 percent of BCCI's shares.
Thus Bank of America acted as a sort of global vacuum cleaner, sucking up many BCCI branch deposits and thereby providing the fuel Abedi needed to keep his Ponzi scheme alive.
Bank of America was one of several banks linked to the fraudulent activities committed by Enron. In 2004, they settled a class action lawsuit brought on by Enron investors, for $69m. The suit specifically claimed that Bank of America had "actively engaged and participated in the fraudulent scheme" and "furthered Enron's fraudulent course of conduct and business in several ways".
Under the settlement, the bank denies that it violated any law and explains that it settled the matter solely to eliminate the uncertainties, expense and distraction of further protracted litigation. 
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Last update August 3, 2009, by The Catbird Seat.