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MUFG US Bank Hearing Has Branch Closing and Lending Disparities and MUFG in Russia

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT – Amid US Treasury Department and Federal Reserve partial reactions to the war on Ukraine, and near total inaction on fair lending and the closure of branches in low income US communities, the agencies scheduled a public meeting on the US Bank - Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group proposed merger on March 8. 

  As often happens in such meeting, a variety of bank grantees Zoomed in to support the merger. Other grassroots activists opposed it, or proposed Community Benefits Agreements increasing lending by thirty or fifty percent. 

 Fair Finance Watch, with Inner City Press as always on the FOIA, raised fair lending issues and something new - the war on Ukraine, and MUFG's continued business in Russia:

"U.S. Bank in 2020 in New York State made only 26 mortgage loans to African Americans, while denying more, fully 66 applications from African Americans. By contrast, it made 842 loans to whites while denying less, only 567 applications from whites. Fair Finance Watch has identified similar disparities in Florida, Michigan and elsewhere.   

  Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's bank in Oregon in 2020 made only ONE mortgage loan to and African Americans, while denying more, two applications from African Americans. By contrast, it made 196 loans to whites while denying fewer, only 55 applications from whites.  

  These disparities should not just result in a Fed footnote that the data cited by Fair Finance Watch is accurate but HMDA data is not probative. The incoming Governors should go on the record on this before the Board rules.    

There are branch closing issues that should be addressed. 

  There is another issue which Inner City Press hereby timely raises to the Federal Reserve Board: the continued business with and in Russia by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, which we confirmed on the bank's website just before this testimony.    Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's website says, "MUFG's presence in Russia started in Moscow in 1992, through a Representative Office. Our presence expanded significantly through the establishment of a Russian subsidiary, ZAO Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Eurasia), by the sole shareholder, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., on 29 May 2006. On 14 October 2015, the name of ZAO Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Eurasia) was changed to AO Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Eurasia). The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. was renamed to MUFG Bank Ltd., effective April 01, 2018. In line with such change the name of AO Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Eurasia) was changed to AO MUFG Bank (Eurasia) on 03 April 2018.    AO MUFG Bank (Eurasia) has a presence in Moscow and Vladivostok."  

This is troubling, and must be addressed under the Bank Holding Company Act's managerial and financial if not moral factors. Other large banks under Federal Reserve supervision still bragging about their presence and business in Russia including Citigroup and HSBC. The Federal Reserve must act on this immediately -- Inner City Press is requesting this be raised to the new / nominated Governors at the earliest time, along with recent rubber stamping by Federal Reserve Banks, which brag of not being government agencies, of bank mergers including involving banks with Needs to Improve CRA ratings, like Berkshire Bank. So too should the record of Toronto Dominion, among others. But the MUFG - Russia / Ukraine issue is most pressing, on this application.   

This was not addressed (yet?) by MUFG's Kevin Cronin and Julius Robinson nor USB's CDEO Andrew Cecere nor Reba Dominski.

The regulators present included Ben Olson Fed Presiding Officer; Donna M. Murphy OCC Presiding Officer; Fed's Vaishali Sack, Susan Motyka, Dafina Stewart, Chris Wangen FRB of Minneapolis; OCC's Barry Wides, Andrew Moss, Ron Pasch and Jason Almonte.

Close readers may remember a previous Inner City Press FOIA report: on May 6, 2020 Inner City Press belatedly received some responsive documents from Treasury's OCC,, but even on then-Comptroller Joseph Otting's schedule entries were redacted or in some cases unreadable - including the names of banks and CEOs met with. For example on January 24, 2020 there was a flurry of calls to bank CEOs, but only Wells Fargo and MUFG were legible.

  What did MUFG says? What did the Comptroller say? What will the Fed say? Watch this site. 


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