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Big banks must clean up their mess June 17th, 2014

“Hannah Senft, Candy Savannah and Ron Taylor have been neighbors for more than 20 years in Georgetown South, a community of 800 town homes in Manassas, Virginia. It’s a diverse, working-class suburban neighborhood about 30 miles from the White House.”

“And it’s being decimated.”

Thus begins a powerful Op Ed calling for  requiring banks to rebuild communities they destroyed through predatory loans and resulting foreclosures published today in the The Hill, a daily newspaper/On-Line news site read extensively by Congress, their staff, and other Federal officials. The Oblate JPIC Office has been working with VOICE to try to get JP Morgan to agree to participate in the rebuilding of the devastated Northern Virginia communities.

The Op Ed details the suffering still experienced by communities hit by numerous foreclosures, but says: “… there is a sliver of hope: In November 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) secured a $13 billion settlement from J.P. Morgan Chase over its issuance of toxic mortgage-backed securities, including $4 billion for consumer relief. VOICE worked with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), federal officials and other allies to include an option in the settlement for the bank to fulfill this obligation through grants to capitalize community equity restoration funds.”

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Oblates Press Banks to Restore Public Trust May 21st, 2014

 

JP Morgan Chase Tower, Houston, TX; by Gabor Eszes, used under Creative Commons license, Wikimedia Commons

JP Morgan Chase Tower, Houston, TX; by Gabor Eszes, used under Creative Commons license, Wikimedia Commons

Fr. Seamus Finn OMI represented the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) at the Annual General Meeting of JP Morgan Chase in Tampa on Tuesday.

Fr. Finn commended the bank on the steps taken thus far to produce a report commissioned by the Board of Directors in response to an ICCR shareholder proposal. The report is to describe “the steps that the Firm has taken to address a number of challenges it faced” since the near collapse of the global financial system in 2008.

Fr. Finn noted that “too many people are still living with the consequences of that crisis and the TRUST and confidence of the public has neither been repaired or restored. We believe the report that we have requested and our company has agreed to complete over the coming months can, when its recommendations are implemented, make a contribution to the restoration of the trust that is necessary for the reliable, safe, effective and ethical functioning of the financial system.”

Read the complete Statement at JP Morgan Chase AGM

 

 

 

 

 


ICCR Shareholders Engage JP Morgan Chase at Annual Shareholder Meeting November 24th, 2013

2013-11-18 11.54.18

L to R: Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI (Missionary Oblates); Sr Valerie Heinonen, OSU (Mercy Investments); Cathy Rowan (Maryknoll Sisters); Sr. Nora Nash (Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia); Sr. Barbara Aires, SC (Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, NJ); Fr Joe La Mar, MM (Maryknoll); Mariela Vargova (Rockefeller Brothers); Sr Pat Daly, OP

 

Shareholders from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility engaged JP Morgan Chase at a meeting last Monday in New York on a broad range of issues from risk management to foreclosures and other business practices. On November 19, the bank finalized a $13 billion settlement agreement with the US Justice Department over “alleged bad behavior relating to mortgages and mortgage-backed bonds,” as Marketplace reports.

Brief background:

JP Morgan Chase bought up Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns after they went under in the financial crisis of 2007-08. All three institutions, along with other banks, had bundled hundreds of home loans into securities and marketed them as investments that could be traded like stocks. When millions of homeowners defaulted on their mortgages and the housing market collapsed, the value of the securities took a nose dive and the economy went into a tailspin. Responsibility for the meltdown is still being apportioned, while hundreds of thousands of families lost their homes. ICCR investors hope that some of those who suffered in the financial crisis will benefit from the settlement.

Part of the $4 billion for consumers would go toward helping some homeowners whose mortgages are handled by JPMorgan. Unusually for such settlements, another share would be used to reduce blight in neighborhoods peppered by rundown and abandoned homes.


Religious Leaders Press JP Morgan Chase to Reinvest in Virginia County Hit Hard by Foreclosures June 20th, 2013

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI calls for justice from JP Morgan Chase

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI calls for investment in mortgage-devastated communities from JP Morgan Chase

Northern Virginia Religious leaders marched this morning to JP Morgan’s DC offices after the Bank refused to invest adequately in Prince William County, VA. The county was hard hit in the mortgage crisis, and the investment is needed to re-build the blighted communities.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI and the Oblates, as investors in the major banks, have been supportive of the community effort to deal with the mortgage crisis, through VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). Fr. Finn spoke at the rally, calling on the JP Morgan Chase to make a meaningful investment in the community. Watch a video of the speech on YouTube.

VOICE leaders plan to meet with Federal Regulators in the next month to ask them to sanction the bank for predatory lending practices, and to investigate credit card robo-signings in Northern Virginia.

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Oblate Questions JP Morgan/Chase CEO Jaime Dimon May 16th, 2012

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI representing the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at the JP Morgan/Chase AGM yesterday in Naples, Florida, made pointed comments about the latest heavy losses at the company. He questioned Dimon’s opposition to the Volcker Rule and the bank’s lobbying in opposition to other aspects of the financial regulations being developed at the SEC in response to the Dodd-Frank legislation.

He was quoted today by Maureen Dowd in her NY Times column:

The Rev. Seamus Finn, representing shareholders from the Catholic organization Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, did gently press the boss: “We’re wondering, Mr. Dimon, given what we’ve learned, do you still believe a company can self-regulate when trading on their own accounts?” He added: “Furthermore, should our company really be spending shareholder funds on, some $7 million last year alone, on lobbying efforts to thwart the Dodd-Frank legislation and the work of regulators to write the rules stemming from that legislation?”
 
The priest concluded that the shareholders, “weary of mistakes” and pledges to reform, wonder if Dimon is listening.

Fr. Finn was also quoted in The Guardian, on CNBC.com, The Telegraph, Crain’s New York Business, and the timesfreepress.com

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