Price-Fixing, Who’s Shocked?
- Federal Valuation Agency Impact on Appraisers & the Public - July 22, 2022
- Is Georgia Going Rogue? - June 13, 2022
- Bias in Automated Valuation Models - February 28, 2022
…criminal investigation into price-fixing…
The State of Pennsylvania has filed a class action law suit against some of the biggest banks and financial institutions in the country. The claim is these companies conspired to fix the prices on almost $500 billion in bonds issued by Fannie and Freddie over a mere 5 year period from 2009-2014.
The named defendants are: Bank of America – Barclays Capital – BNP Paribas – Citigroup – Credit Suisse – Deutsche Bank & Deutsche Bank Securities – First Tennessee Bank & FTN Financial Securities – Goldman Sachs – JP Morgan Chase – Merrill Lynch – UBS Securities
These are not mortgage-backed bonds, but rather bonds issues by the GSE’s to cover their operating expenses. These were not publicly traded bonds and are classified as over the counter where investors worked directly with the named institution representatives. According to the law suit, the institutions underpaid sellers and overcharged buyers with predetermined pricing among themselves.
According to HousingWire, The Department of Justice has an open investigation against these institutions for price-fixing the GSE Bonds as well. See the lawsuit here.
Defendants had the ability to use secretive communications, such as multi-user electronic chat rooms, to maintain their collusive price-fixing scheme and coordinate in real time to share proprietary customer information and align their pricing. The Wall Street Journal has described secretive and instantaneous means such as chat rooms as “integral to the way traders communicate with one another.”..
And speaking of being shocked, no not really, we saw this coming for a while. VaCAP has been keeping you informed on the CoesterVMS and Brian Coester shenanigans for a while. Many appraisers stopped working for CoesterVMS prior to the official shut down. Unfortunately, some did not heed the warnings and may still be owed money. There is a surety bond filed with DPOR for this purpose, however, a court ordered judgement must be obtained prior to collecting. WorkingRE Magazine did an excellent recap on the demise of CoesterVMS.
Fannie and Freddie to be set Free? According to the ZeroHedge.com article by Tyler Durden published on March 27, 2019, President Trump will release a plan to free Fannie and Freddie from Government Control.
Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan Suddenly Quits! The Bank has stated they will seek an outside candidate to replace Mr, Sloan who resigned after intense pressure from Federal Lawmakers. Will this be turning point for Wells Fargo? The New York Times breaks down the events that led up to this abrupt decision.