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Bank of America & Federal Reserve Let Off Hook by DOJ Settlement, As BofA Bluewashed by UN

By Matthew R. Lee

SOUTH BRONX, December 22 -- The $335 million "Countrywide" fair lending settlement, as announced by the Department of Justice on December 21, went out of its way to let off the hook Bank of America and its regulator the Federal Reserve Board.

  The paper of record, without further comment, reported that the settlement was based on a referral by the Federal Reserve, covering a period before Bank of America owned Countrywide.

  But more than three years ago, over the detailed objections of Bronx-based Fair Finance Watch and others, the Federal Reserve allowed Bank of America to buy Countrywide and continue to run its predatory programs, which were slowed only by the subprime financial meltdown.

  Fair Finance Watch found, and Inner City Press reported, that "in 2006, at Countrywide and its higher-cost Full Spectrum, upper income African Americans were confined to higher cost loans over the rate spread 1.92 times more frequently than whites. In 2006, 24.70% of Countrywide's total mortgages were subprime.

  "In 2007, Countrywide Financial, which Bank of America had applied to buy, confined African Americans to higher-cost loans 1.95 times more frequently than whites, and denied the applications of Latinos 1.53 times more frequently than whites."

  The Federal Reserve approved Bank of America's acquisition of Countrywide without any conditions, despite this testimony. The disparities continues at Bank of America after the acquisition, without any action by the Fed.

2011 #OWS protest at B of A, Federal Reserve action not seen, (c) MRLee

  Years later comes a settlement that is, in context, a pittance, a smoke screen for a company which has received far more in government bailouts. For shame.

Footnote: Bank of America is also engaged in "blue washing," getting its chairman Charles Holliday named the co-chair of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's High Level Panel on Sustainable Energy for All, despite B of A being protested as the number one funder of mountain top removeal coal mining. Now that B of A has settled charges of racial discrimination, will the UN take note? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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

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