Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Fed Belatedly Asks M&T About Discrimination, Sterling on CRA

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

NEW YORK, March 9 -- Federal bank regulators remain captured by large and becoming-large banks like M&T and even Sterling Bancorp, belated responses to Inner City Press under the Freedom of Information Act show.

  On M&T's pending application to acquire Hudson, on March 9 the Federal Reserve belatedly informed Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch that it spoke by telephone with M&T on February 19, about a discrimination in lending lawsuit against it. Published by Inner City Press online here.

  The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, part of the US Treasury, is scarcely better, releasing to Inner City Press on March 9 a redacted copy of Sterling's CRA presentation, here.

  See here on the CIT Group and another belated Freedom of Information Act response to Inner City Press from the Federal Reserve on February 20. Uploaded exclusively here, embedded below.

   Back on August 26, 2014, Inner City Press submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Reserve Board for CIT's application to acquire OneWest and for the Federal Reserve's communications with or about the companies since January 1, 2014.

  After Inner City Press and Fair Finance Watch repeatedly complained about the withholding even of CIT's Community Reinvestment Act plan, and after the Fed and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency had agreed to ICP's and others' request for a public hearing, now scheduled for February 26, only on February 20 -- seven months after the request -- did the Fed provide the responsive documents, over one thousands pages.

  Many of the released pages are redacted in full, others have redacts to for example sentences referring to documents about CIT's [REDACTED]. Inner City Press has submitted a Freedom of Information Act appeal and request that the comment period be extended.

  But even as released, and exclusively uploaded today here, the document show the degree of insider treatment CIT, its CEO John Thain and its lawyers including Rodgin Cohen of Sullivan & Cromwell are given by the Federal Reserve.

   While the proposed merger was only announced to the public on July 22, 2014, it appears in Federal Reserve correspondence as far back at April 24, 2014.

  On that day, Michael Lipman of the Federal Reserve Board's Banking Supervision and Regulation (BS&R) department wrote to three others that “Based on details from the most recent CIT April BOD meeting, there is a likelihood CIT may approach FRB in the near term to discuss an acquisition of OneWest NA (Private, ~$23B in assets ). Couple points [REDACTION]. I will keep you updated as discussions develop. [REDACTION].” Page 1 of ICP upload; appealed.

   Then in June, Rodgin Cohen of Sullivan & Cromwell and CIT's John Thain arranged to meet with the Federal Reserve, to some it appears to receive a form of pre-approval of the proposal.

   On June 24 senior Fed staff were asked to hold time to meet with Rodgin Cohen. On June 25, Lipman wrote again:

“CIT is meeting with FRBNY (John Ricketti and others) next Monday at 11am to discuss a potentially large acquisition. CIT has yet to send a discussion deck but will have more details later this week (OneWest continues to be the assumed target: $22B out of CA). John Thain’s secretary has bee guided to me to help set up a meeting in DC and I am expecting to hear from her by Friday. That said, it is also possible that they may reach out to one of you; CPC Cheatham is under the impression they have a different contact in DC as well (he is not sure who).” Page 6 of ICP upload.

  Later that day it was said that “the meeting with be in Scott's office so space will be limited.” Scott is Scott Alvarez, the Fed's longtime general counsel.

  On June 30, the Fed's Richard Naylor wrote to Lipman, “ I wouldn’t worry about any briefing material for Scott. Most likely Rodgin will do all the talking...”

   Scott Alvarez's self-described Gate-keeper told Lipman who would come: “The Chairman and CEO of CIT and 6 other guests; 3 from One West; 1 from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and 2 from Sullivan and Cromwell. Total of 13 outsiders.” Page 163 of ICP upload.

    These “outsiders” sound like insiders.

Exclusive: CIT's Thain Met Fed Staff 3 Weeks Before OneWest Merger, FOIA Response Shows, Loan Loss Redactio... by Matthew Russell Lee

  The next day the attendees were described:

Readout of Meeting on Proposed Merger between CIT and OneWest Tue 7/1/2014 12p-1p, B-4001

Outside Attenders: ~13

Executives from CIT (~7-8) included CEO John Thain, formerly CEO of Merrill Lynch

Executives from OneWest (~3) included CEO

Lawyers (~2-3) included Rodgin Cohen (Sullivan Cromwell) and a Wachtell Lipton lawyer

Board Attenders: ~10-12

  So the “outsiders” from Wall Street had more attendees that the Fed, even insider the Fed.

    The Fed's Alison Thro put it in context: “Rodgin is coming in to preview the proposed acquisition because it will be the first transaction to create a more than $50 billion institution since Dodd-Frank was enacted.”

  Also on June 30, the Fed's Elizabeth Kiser wrote to Fed economist Jacob Gramlich, “I dug a bit and found some materials on CIT’s [REDACTED].” There follow more than 100 pages of redacted material. Page 25 to 149 of ICP upload; appealed.

   By July 9, still before any public announcement by CIT, the project had been code-named Carbon / Oxygen and the Fed was reviewing (and now apparently redacting) the OneWest / Indymac / FDIC Loan Loss Agreements. These will be discussed at the February 26 public hearing, and beyond.

  Once they applied for approval and groups like Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch, NCRC, CRC and others submitted comments in opposition, the Fed was required to follow its rules against ex parte communications.

  But the extensive communications that took place before then were withheld for seven months, and some are still being withheld.  Today, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch exclusively uploads these documents, in preparation for the public hearing, and beyond. Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2015 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]