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Third Rakuten Application Challenged to FDIC by Inner City Press Reply Is A Form Letter

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

FEDERAL COURT / S Bronx, March 6 – Whether or not the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act will be again enforced under the new Administration and its regulators is an open questions.

  On the 25th day of the new Administration, Fair Finance Watch with Inner City Press on the FOIA filed comments with the FDIC on the third application by Rakuten for Federal deposit insurance. And then, by regular mail, a form letter response from Rakuten, cc-ing regulators.

Among the complaints, most not addressed by the Rakuten form letter: "Re: Timely first opposition to (third) application by Rakuten for FDIC insurance  Dear Chairman McWilliams:      Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch is hereby timely opposing the second re-submission by Rakuten Card Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Rakuten, Inc., of an application for federal deposit insurance (Rakuten Application) with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to insure the deposits of Rakuten Bank America (Rakuten Bank).     

Not only do we believe that the revised application has not meaningfully changed and does little to address the fundamental question of mixing banking and non-financial activity as raised by the initial application, including concerns involving the use, privacy, and security of customer information - we also have these Rakuten-specific concerns which must be addressed, including at the public hearings we are hereby timely requesting.

1) " Rakuten USA, Inc’s Americas President, Yasuhisa “Yaz” Iida, allegedly grooming, sexually harassing, and finally, demoting Director of Corporate Hospitality, Jessica Wyman, who spurned his advances across two and a half years." See here 

2) "A former SoftBank Corp. employee has been arrested on suspicion of illegally disclosing 5G trade secrets to his new employer, Rakuten Mobile Inc., as it was preparing to launch its own mobile network.  [Police] arrested Kuniaki Aiba, 45, on suspicion of leaking secret information in breach of a law preventing unfair competition. See, here 

3) Also on anticompetitive behavior by Rakuten: "antitrust watchdog will launch an investigation into e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. after receiving a petition from a group of merchants over the planned free-shipping policy of the company's online shopping mall.  According to the petition organized by around 450 Rakuten marketplace merchants that was signed by 4,000 people, the company is abusing its dominant position by forcing them to shoulder the costs of free shipping for all orders." See, here

 4) Rakuten, Inc. has confirmed a judgement has been issued in a class action lawsuit against its consolidated subsidiary Inc. (currently, RAKUTEN COMMERCE LLC) (U.S.). 1.Court and date of judgement (i) Court:  United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, here

  Procedurally, we requested a copy of Rakuten's application and received an acknowledgement of the request - but not yet the application. "Thank you for your request to receive the public, non-confidential portion of the selected deposit insurance application.  The FDIC appreciates your interest and will forward the requested application to the email address indicated." The application should have been put online; the comment period should be extended.    FFW and Inner City Press have been deeply concerned about the rush by the FDIC to rubber-stamp mergers by redliners. This has been killing the Community Reinvestment Act and we timely request public hearings, including on these concerns: (i) significant risks to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) raised by the affiliation, integration, and assimilation of banking and non-financial businesses, and (ii) consumer protection concerns raised by the collection, use, privacy, security, and safeguarding of customer information."

  Rakuten's head of banking development Lee Carter responded with a form letter: "Dear Mr. Lee, I acknowledge receipt... Thank you for your comments regarding the proposed CRA Plan...We welcome relevant and constructive feedback regarding the CRA plan."

And not the antitrust and other violations? This form letter was cc-ed to the FDIC and Utah regulators. The applications should be denied.

 Meanwhile in Federal court, PNC Bank and its Midland Loan Services have been sued for usury, predatory lending and civil conspiracy, under New York and Federal law.  


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