In 2006, Aaron Patzer founded Mint. Patzer had grown up in the city of Evansville, Indiana—a place he described as "small, without much economic opportunity"—but had created a successful business building websites. He kept up the business through college and grad school and invested his profits in stocks and other assets, leading to a minor obsession with personal finance that saw him devoting hours every Saturday morning to manually tracking every penny he'd spent that week, transcribing his receipts into Microsoft Money and Quicken. Read the rest
On Monday, a 78-year-old man in Harford County, Maryland, withdrew a large sum of cash from his bank. That night, an intruder forced his way into the man's house and assaulted him until a relative interrupted the beating. As the relative called the cops the intruder ran off. Police later identified the culprit as 19-year-old Nathan Michael Newell, a teller at the victim's bank.
Newell is currently in the county jail. He was also fired, probably for lousy customer service.
"We are shocked and appalled to hear of the events that led to the assault and injury of a longtime member of our credit union," (Freedom Federal Credit Union president Michael) MacPherson said. "Our thoughts go out to him, and his family, during this difficult time."
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In 2008, Congress authorized a $700b bailout of the finance sector, with almost no strings attached (notably, the bailout did not require banks that were receiving public subsidies to abstain from foreclosures or penalties for the members of the public who had just bailed the banks out).
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The New York Times has published an investigation into infamous American mass shootings and found that a significant proportion of mass shooters go on credit-card fueled spending sprees prior to their acts of terror, and that these shooters worry (needlessly, as it turns out) that their unusual credit-card spending will be flagged by financial institutions, resulting in their cards being frozen.
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On paper, America's bailed-out banks learned their lessons from the crash of 2008 and got rid of their exposure to subprime debt, especially "deep subprime" loans to people who are so broke that it's basically impossible that they'll ever pay their loans back.
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There are Advent calendars and then there is the Banks's Brewery's Advent calendar.
Launched on December 1, the UK beer brand's countdown to Christmas stands over 36 feet tall because it's spray painted on the boarded-up windows of a deserted building in the English city of Wolverhampton.
Their bluntly-stated calendar is part of a larger campaign called "Tells it like it is" and its gritty commentary is meant to appeal to a young, working class audience.
Big Al’s Creative Emporium, the London-based creative agency behind it all, explains:
How do you reassert an identity for a traditional pint of Black Country bitter on a shoestring? Paint it on the walls. That’s how.
Banks’ was a traditional West Midland’s beer in decline, feeling a bit dated and with an ageing core of traditional drinkers. Despite an extremely limited marketing budget, we wanted to give the brand new lease of life by appropriating the straight talking wit and grit of its industrial Black Country roots.
Our solution was to develop a graffiti campaign around the thought ‘Tells it like it is’ and getting our messages on to unconventional urban spaces to create a subversive ambient campaign, which in turn we were able to activate as social media campaign taking on a life of its own.
Here's a peek at some of those messages:
See the rest over at Ads of the World.
Previously: There's an advent calendar full of weed Read the rest
A lawsuit against JP Morgan-Chase -- the nation's largest bank -- asserts that the institution paid off the $4,200,000,000 in mortgage forgiveness that it agreed to as a settlement for widescale mortgage and foreclosure fraud by committing a lot more mortgage fraud, in which homeowners, ethical lenders, and American cities were stuck with the bill. Read the rest
Yesterday in Corpus Christi, Texas a contractor was changing a lock inside an ATM room when he got locked inside without his phone. So he wrote "help me" notes that he slipped through the working ATM receipt slot until someone took him seriously and called the cops. From KRISTV.com:
"We come out here, and sure enough we can hear a little voice coming from the machine. So we are thinking this is a joke. It's got to be a joke," (police officer Richard) Olden said.
It turns out it was true, and the employee said afterward he got stuck changing out an electronic lock. Later the contractor supervisor arrived, and police had to kick down a door to get the gentlemen out of the ATM room.
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When Thomas Piketty and his team undertook their landmark study of wealth inequality in the world, they had to rely on the self-reported income of the super rich to see just how income was distributed -- by definition, they couldn't directly measure the unreported income hidden in tax havens (though they did estimate it, with what was eventually shown to be pretty good precision). Read the rest
I love Alex Schaefer impasto works depicting branches of Chase bank going up in flames in daytime. They were from a series by him called "Disaster Capitalism," and apparently the banks (and cops) would pretend he was planning acts of arson to try and make him stop painting. [via mutantspace, via Janie]
On July 30, 2011, Alex Schaefer set up an easel across the road from a Chase bank and began painting the building in flames. However, before he had finished the police arrived, asked him for his information and if he was planning on actually carrying out an arson attack on the building. Ridiculous. Later they turned up on his doorstep asking about his artwork and looking for any signs that he was going to carry through an anarcho – terrorist plot based on his paintings. If this wasn’t bad enough a year later he was arrested for drawing the word ‘crime’ with a Chase logo in front of an LA bank.
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U.K. and U.S. authorities fined Deutsche Bank of Germany $629 million for helping crooked Russian plutocrats move $10 billion out of Russia.
From April 2012 to October 2014, mirror trades were used by Deutsche Bank customers to transfer more than $6 billion from Russia, through the German lender’s arm in the U.K., to overseas bank accounts including in Cyprus, Estonia, and Latvia, the FCA said. Another nearly $4 billion in suspicious "one-sided trades" were also carried out.
The mirror trades allowed clients to buy local blue-chip shares for rubles, while the same stocks would be sold in London for dollars, in order to obtain the U.S. currency. Although such trades can be legal, there was a lack of controls in place at Deutsche Bank to prevent money laundering and other offenses.
A couple of weeks ago Western Union was fined $586 million for colluding with organized crime. The CEOs of both companies kept their jobs.
By Christoph F. Siekermann - Fotografiert am 17. September 2005, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Read the rest
Five years ago, a fisherman in Deyang, China, buried his entire life savings. The amount he buried totaled about US$5,500. When Wu Chen, 67, and his family recently dug it up, they discovered that the plastic bag the bills were in had deteriorated. Worms and insects had eaten through much of his cash. Read the rest
Back in 2009, SF author Peter Watts had dinner with a retired investment banker from TD who described the bank's "vulnerability index" -- a numeric score that expresses how desperate you are for your paycheck and thus the extent to which you can be reliably expected to forego your dignity and principles to keep your check intact. Read the rest
David Adier missed two mortgage payments on his home in Morris Township, NJ, so Wells Fargo, his mortgage lender, sent contractors who illegally broke in and "trashed-out" his home as though it was abandoned, stealing the family treasures his father smuggled out of Nazi-occupied France. Read the rest
Visa's new Paywave chip-and-PIN credit-cards have a $1M limit on foreign-currency transactions that can be verified "in-card," meaning that someone who gets close enough to your UK wallet can simply wave a phone at it and charge a megabuck to it without raising any realtime security alerts. Read the rest
Here's a sad profile of William Footman, an inmate at Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward who is believed to be behind at least 37 robberies in which the doormats were stolen from banks. Footman admits to some of these, but says that the rest weren't him; he claims to have worked at a rug factory, to have a wife and 15 daughters, and to have made ends meet by selling stolen bank doormats to bodegas. But there's a clear impression that he's a fabulist, possibly delusional, and that he's really in a bad place, despite the weirdness of his crimes. Read the rest
Back in 2012, the major US banks settled a federal mortgage-fraud lawsuit for $95,000,000. The suit was filed by Lynn Szymoniak, a white-collar fraud specialist, whose own house had been fraudulently foreclosed-upon. When the feds settled with the banks, the evidence detailing the scope of their fraud was sealed, but as of last week, those docs are unsealed, and Szymoniak is shouting them from the hills. The banks precipitated the subprime crash by "securitizing" mortgages -- turning mortgages into bonds that could be sold to people looking for investment income -- and the securitization process involved transferring title for homes several times over. This title-transfer has a formal legal procedure, and in the absence of that procedure, no sale had taken place. See where this is going?
The banks screwed up the title transfers. A lot. They sold bonds backed by houses they didn't own. When it came time to foreclose on those homes, they realized that they didn't actually own them, and so they committed felony after felony, forging the necessary documentation. They stole houses, by the neighborhood-load, and got away with it. The $1B settlement sounded like a big deal, back when the evidence was sealed. Now that Szymoniak's gotten it into the public eye, it's clear that $1B was a tiny slap on the wrist: the banks stole trillions of dollars' worth of houses from you and people like you, paid less than one percent in fines, and got to keep the homes. Read the rest