|Pasadena's gift to America?|
Trump's Treasury Pick Steven Mnuchin has Ties to Controversial Pasadena Bank (Pasadena Patch link): President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be secretary of the treasury has a deep and wide Southland connection, with a mansion in Bel-Air, an extensive relationship with Hollywood as a prolific film financier, and a job history that includes the chairmanship of a controversial bank headquartered in Pasadena.
Now 53, Steven Mnuchin began his career at Goldman Sachs, leaving after 17 years and founding Dune Capital Management in 2004. He also was part of a team that, in 2009, bought IndyMac from the federal government for $1.6 billion, later serving as chairman of the Pasadena-based institution, which was renamed OneWest Bank Group and later sold.
In 2011, protesters gathered in front of Mnuchin’s home in Bel-Air -- it's reported to be worth $26.5 million -- to protest OneWest’s foreclosure on homeowners, many of whom were alleged to belong to minority communities.
Mod: So how did this dude become so unpopular? Kicking people out of their homes.
Trump Treasury pick made millions after his bank foreclosed on homeowners (Politico link): Donald Trump wasn’t the only person to see opportunity in the 2008 housing collapse. As the economy recovered from the rubble of failed banks, foreclosed homes and government bailouts, Steven Mnuchin emerged a winner.
That success is coming back to haunt the hedge fund manager and Hollywood producer who is Trump’s choice for Treasury secretary. OneWest, a bank Mnuchin and his partners established during the collapse, has taken steady fire from regulators and consumer advocates for myriad failures ever since.
In Florida, the company foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman after a 27-cent payment error. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo singled out the lender for squeezing Superstorm Sandy victims. Last month, the company’s successor, CIT Bank, was accused of discriminating against minority borrowers.
“We’re just coming out of a foreclosure crisis and a serious economic downturn. It’s not the time to appoint someone who sided with corporate America over real people,” said Alys Cohen, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. “Mr. Mnuchin comes from Wall Street and has served monied interests over homeowners.”
Mnuchin, OneWest and the Trump transition team did not return calls for comment.
Mod: So who or what was IndyMac? Here is how Wikipedia describes it (link):
"IndyMac, a contraction of Independent National Mortgage Corporation, was an American bank based in Pasadena California that failed in 2008 and was seized by the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Before its failure, IndyMac Bank was the largest savings and loan association in the Los Angeles area and the seventh largest mortgage originator in the United States. The failure of IndyMac Bank on July 11, 2008, was the fourth largest bank failure in United States, and the second largest failure of a regulated thrift at that time. It was heavily involved in Alt-A mortgages and reverse mortgages which in part resulted in its dramatic rise and has been suggested as the cause for its demise as large number of these questionable loans failed during the US subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2009."
Mod: Interesting, right? The collapse of sub-prime lenders like IndyMac cost the taxpayers billions. But Little Steven Mnuchin's controversial connections to Pasadena's worst bank ever, and its equally toxic offspring OneWest Bank, doesn't end there. This from the Los Angeles real estate news site TheRealDeal.com.
OneWest Bank, founded by Steven Mnuchin, accused of redlining in SoCal (The RealDeal link): Two housing advocacy groups have accused OneWest Bank, which is headquartered in Pasadena, of discriminating against black and hispanic borrowers.
|He's coming for Granny's house|
Their complaint requests the Department of Housing and Urban Development investigate whether OneWest violated federal discrimination laws, including redlining, Bloomberg reported.
Historically, redlining referred to the Federal Housing Administration flagging neighborhoods, usually black neighborhoods, as high-risk, making it difficult for homeowners to get loans, and putting them at the mercy of lenders who could easily exploit them.
OneWest has 52 branches in Los Angeles alone, but lent to only two black borrowers across six Southern California counties throughout the years of 2014 and 2015, according to an analysis by the two housing groups, California Reinvestment Coalition and Fair Housing advocates of Northern California.
Mod: It gets worse, of course. Newsweek picked up on the Mad Munchkin's unkind ways, and filed the following story.
Trump's Treasury Pick Steven Mnuchin Ran A Bank Critics Call ‘A Foreclosure Machine’ (Newsweek link): Rose Guidel was in trouble. It was 2009 and the United States was in the grips of the Great Recession. Her brother, who had helped pay the mortgage on her modest home outside of Los Angeles, had been murdered, so she contacted her bank to say her payment would be late. The bank apparently told her it couldn’t help until she was actually behind. So she waited. When Guidel was in fact behind, the bank said she would need to modify her mortgage. But that process dragged on for two years, until she came home from work one day to find a foreclosure notice attached to her door.
“It was a moment of all my dreams crumbling down,” Guidel says. She went “from being a person, a citizen that paid her stuff and needed assistance this one time,” to someone on the verge of homelessness. Her parents, who were in their 60s and lived with her, would be out on the street too. Her mother was in a wheelchair.
The bank behind the foreclosure was OneWest. And the man behind OneWest was Steven Mnuchin. On Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump announced he is nominating Mnuchin for treasury secretary, a move that has people like Guidel concerned. Those who have challenged his banking and housing practices for years through protests, federal complaints and in court are worried that what his bank customers experienced could prove to be a microcosm of how he might treat the country.
“It’s actually very concerning,” says Guidel. “He was in charge of OneWest Bank. Now we’re talking about giving him a position that’s way bigger and can affect a lot more families.”
(Later): In 2008, when the recession hit, Mnuchin saw an opportunity. He and a handful of investors purchased the failed Pasadena California-based bank IndyMac from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It was unusual for unregulated private investors to buy it instead of a bank holding company, The New York Times reported in 2009, and only possible because the federal government had eased regulations on such transactions.
The buyers renamed the bank OneWest and worked out a loss-share agreement with the FDIC so the agency would partially reimburse the bank for handling foreclosures. This meant OneWest could get federal money for kicking someone like Guidel out of her home.
Fair-housing advocates have decried OneWest’s loss-share agreement, prompting the FDIC to issue a statement in 2010 saying, “OneWest has not been paid one penny by the FDIC in loss-share claims.” But through the Freedom of Information Act, the California Reinvestment Coalition, which monitors housing issues facing communities of color and low-income communities, found that between 2009 and 2015, the FDIC paid the bank more than $1 billion for at least 36,000 foreclosures.
As chairman and CEO of OneWest, Mnuchin was likely largely behind those foreclosures and strategies. “This is someone who profited by running a bank that foreclosed on tens of thousands of people in our state, so making money off of the misfortune of working families,” says Kevin Stein, deputy director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. He has called OneWest “a foreclosure machine.”
Mod: One more Mean Munchkin story for you.
"I just wish that I had not voted": Trump voter lost her home to new Treasury secretary (Associated Press link): When Donald Trump named his Treasury secretary, Teena Colebrook felt her heart sink. She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington, D.C. And she knew Trump's pick for Treasury – Steven Mnuchin – all too well.
OneWest, a bank formerly owned by a group of investors headed by Mnuchin, had foreclosed on her Los Angeles-area home in the aftermath of the Great Recession, stripping her of the two units she rented as a primary source of income.
"I just wish that I had not voted," said Colebrook, 59. "I have no faith in our government anymore at all. They all promise you the world at the end of a stick and take it away once they get in."
Mod: This guy is a real sweetheart. Here is a video of some of the people Munchkin foreclosed on demonstrating at his Bel-Air mansion. I'm sure a few of you are going to be horrified at the sight of these people doing such a thing.