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BMO Harris BNP Faced Fed Qs After Admitting Mislabeling Info Now 4 More Questions

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

FED COURT / S Bronx, Oct 26 – Whether or not the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act will actually be enforced under the Administration and its regulators remains an open question. Consider: Inner City Press immediately reported that BMO Harris' application to buy Bank of the West and its more than 500 branches from BNP would be a litmus test.

 Fair Finance Watch noted, from Day 1, that in 2020 BMO Harris denied many more mortgage applications from African Americans than it approved: 509 denied versus only 223 loans made to African Americans, nationwide. BMO's numbers for whites were the reverse: 9270 loans made, versus less then six thousand denials. As noted, there are also climate and secrecy issues. Fair Finance Watch and other raised branch closings.

On October 14, the banks' counsel sent Fair Finance Watch what purported to be a copy of its submission to the Fed under the Ex Parte Rules -- but the entire thing was withheld, under this cover message: "Attached is the public portion of the BMO response to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s request for additional information received on October 3, 2022.      Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.     Best,  Ro     Ro Spaziani Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz."  No substance was attached, just a request for confidential treatment

This is outrageous. The Fed itself should make these exhibits public.

On October 17, the Fed sent Fair Finance Watch a copy of letter to "Ro" - "Dear Ro: Please provide a response including supporting documentation, to the following request: 1. Provide the cover page for the FR Y-3F and responses to any questions that were not already covered in the initial FR Y-3 filing. Provide your response by October 25, 2022, eight business days from the date of this letter."

On October 26, belatedly more formal, the Fed asked: "Dear Rosemary:  Please provide responses to each of the following requests. Supporting documentation, as appropriate, should be provided. 1. With respect to the Transitional Services and Reverse Transitional Services Agreements (“Agreements”), the March 9, 2022 request for additional information requested copies of the draft and final Agreements, when available. On August 23, 2022, BMO Stated the final Agreements would be completed shortly and provided to the Board of Governors within the following weeks. Provide copies of the draft or final agreements if available. If these are currently unavailable, provide an update on when the Agreements will be available. 2. Confirm whether BHB plans to close, consolidate, or relocate any BHB branches in connection with the Proposed Transaction.  3. The March 11, 2022, response to commenters states “the combined banking organization will continue to offer both (a) a wide array of deposit, checking and loan products (including Bank On certified products) and (b) broad access to programs with features that are available to assist [low- and moderate-income (LMI)] and minority individuals.” Provide greater detail regarding the products and services that the combined organization would offer to meet the convenience and needs of the communities to be served by the combined organization, including LMI individuals and communities. In addition, identify if there are any programs, products, or services offered by BOTW, but not currently offered by BHB, that would be made available by the combined banking  organization if the proposal is consummated, and would help to meet the needs of LMI customers. 4. Describe whether the combined banking organization would expand upon each bank’s community development activities if the proposal is consummated, and identify those community development activities."

Watch this site.

The banks in an August 3 letter belatedly admitted: "One commenter requested that certain confidential exhibits to the April 12, 2022 responses to the Federal Reserve as well as certain confidential exhibits to the initial Federal Reserve application be made public. The parties have reviewed this information and have concluded that some of this information can be public." So why did they mislabel it, and the Fed allow it? The comment period must be reopened. Especially in light of this:

The banks now claim: "Commenters criticized BNP Paribas S.A.’s15 and BMO’s efforts related to climate resiliency and lending to the fossil fuel industry...Similarly, BNP Paribas and BOTW have some of the financial services industry’s most restrictive financing policies concerning the most damaging forms of fossil fuel extraction and have minimal exposure to the fossil fuel exploration and extraction sectors."

But consider: "Following the UK government's decision  to give "final regulatory approval" to Shell's Jackdaw gas field in the North Sea, a coalition of climate organizations  sent a letter to the oil major's biggest bankers calling for a halt to the project. The letter was sent to 25 financiers of Shell, including the top five financiers in the period 2016 - 2021: BNP Paribas... Almost all of the bank recipients of the letter have commitments to reach “Net Zero” in their financed emissions by 2050, including the top five – all members of the Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA). The letter highlights the incompatibility between these banks’ financial relationship with Shell and their own climate commitments, potentially exposing them to significant reputational, legal, financial and other risks."

We'll have more on this- watch this site.


 Inner City Press (and Fair Finance Watch, on the HMDA) will have more to say about this. Watch this site.


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