American Bridge Statement On Trump’s Pick Of Steven Mnuchin As Treasury Secretary

American Bridge President Jessica Mackler released the following statement on Donald Trump’s selection of Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary:

“Donald Trump cheered on the housing crisis and went out of his way to profit from people’s misery and foreclosures. Of course he’d want Steve Mnuchin, who’s company made $3 billion off the housing crisis and was responsible for more than a third of all reverse mortgage foreclosures, to be his Treasury Secretary. Putting a Wall Street CEO in charge of his Administration’s oversight of Wall Street is dangerous and even more proof that Donald Trump is only interested in protecting corporations at the expense of working families.”

Background:

The Mnuchin-Owned OneWest Bank Received Billions In Taxpayer Bailouts

In 2009, A Mnuchin-Led Group Purchased IndyMac, The Fourth Largest Failed Bank, Assets At A Bargain Price, Turning A Profit Of Over $3 Billion In Five Years

2009: A Mnuchin-Led Group Purchased IndyMac, Which Became The Fourth Largest Failed Bank After Its July 2008 Collapse, The Costliest Ever To Federal Bank Deposit Insurance Funds At $13 Billion. According to the L.A. Times, “IndyMac was the fourth largest failed bank when it was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. […] IndyMac’s collapse in July 2008 was an early warning of what was to come in the rest of the banking industry, and the costliest ever to federal bank deposit insurance funds, at $13 billion. A run on the bank triggered its takeover by the FDIC, with depositors lined up outside branches demanding their money back. The group headed by Mnuchin outbid other potential buyers in an FDIC auction, putting up $1.55 billion in 2009 to revitalize the bank.” [L.A. Times, 7/22/14]

  • Mnuchin Became CEO Of The Holding Company For OneWest Bank. According to the New York Times’ Dealbook blog, “Mr. Mnuchin is a founder of Dune Capital, a hedge fund, and part of group that bought the remains of IndyMac Bank, based in Pasadena, after its collapse last year under the weight of a huge portfolio of risky mortgages, many given to buyers who were not required to fully document income or assets. IndyMac was the fourth largest failed bank when it was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Now Mr. Mnuchin, 46, has stepped in to become the chief executive of the holding company for the bank, which has been renamed OneWest Bank, and he has an office at the Pasadena headquarters.” [New York Times, 10/13/09]

Taxpayers Subsidized The Risk When Mnuchin’s Group Bought $32 Billion Of Assets At A Bargain Price, Injected Additional Capital And Assumed The First 20% Of Losses, With The FDIC Paying Most Of The Rest At The Cost Of Between $8.5 Billion And $9.4 Billion. According to the Daily Beast, “In the case of IndyMac, the fifth-largest U.S. bank bankruptcy, a consortium of private-equity firms coalesced in a holding company, IMB HoldCo, set up by Dune Capital Management L.P., a private-equity fund founded by former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin. The deal went like this: IMB HoldCo bought $32 billion of IndyMac assets for the bargain price of $13.9 billion in January 2009. It injected an additional $1.3 billion of capital into its prize and assumed the first 20 percent of losses. The FDIC picked up the tab for most of the rest. The entire episode cost the FDIC between $8.5 billion and $9.4 billion. The upshot is the consortium made money, and taxpayers subsidized their risk.” [Daily Beast, 7/22/14]

Regulatory Filings Showed The Bank Turned More Than $3 Billion In Profits In The Five Years After Mnuchin’s Group Purchased It, Enabling The Investors To Pull Out Nearly $1.86 Billion In Dividend Payments By The End Of 2013. According to the L.A. Times, “The group headed by Mnuchin outbid other potential buyers in an FDIC auction, putting up $1.55 billion in 2009 to revitalize the bank. […] In the five years since then, regulatory filings showed the bank turned more than $3 billion in profits, enabling the investors to pull out nearly $1.86 billion in dividend payments by the end of 2013.” [L.A. Times, 7/22/14]

OneWest Was Responsible For At Least 39% Of Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures From 2009-2014

OneWest Subsidiary Financial Freedom Had An Outsized Role In Housing Crisis Foreclosures With An Estimated Market Share Of 17% But More Than A Third Of All Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures

OneWest Subsidiary Financial Freedom’s Share Of Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures From April 2009 Through November 2014 Was Nearly 40%. According to the California Reinvestment Coalition, “In November 2014, based on the stories CRC was hearing from consumers, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the regulator of the federal reverse mortgage program. CRC’s FOIA request asked for data about the number of consumer complaints filed against Financial Freedom, the number of foreclosures Financial Freedom had conducted since being purchased by OneWest, the number of ‘widow foreclosures’ nationally, and information about HUD’s process for designing a new policy to respond to ‘widow foreclosures’ on reverse mortgages. […] HUD’s FOIA response indicated that since April 2009, there have been 41,237 foreclosures on reverse mortgages that are part of the FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program. HUD also disclosed that of these 41,237 foreclosures, Financial Freedom was responsible for at least 16,220 foreclosures.” [California Reinvestment Coalition, 4/27/16]

  • Financial Freedom’s Share Of Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures Was More Than Twice The Company’s Estimated Market Share Of 17%. According to the California Reinvestment Coalition, “HUD’s FOIA response indicated that since April 2009, there have been 41,237 foreclosures on reverse mortgages that are part of the FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program. HUD also disclosed that of these 41,237 foreclosures, Financial Freedom was responsible for at least 16,220 foreclosures. The National Reverse Mortgage Lender Associations estimates there are approximately 616,000 reverse mortgage loans currently outstanding. As of March 31, 2015, Financial Freedom’s servicing portfolio consisted of 104,050 loans and the former CEO of OneWest testified that 95% of Financial Freedom’s portfolio is insured by FHA, so CRC estimates Financial Freedom services approximately 17% of the market.” [California Reinvestment Coalition, 4/27/16]

Housing And Economic Rights Advocates Executive Director Maeve Elise Brown Called For An Investigation: “Financial Freedom’s Outsized Role In HECM Foreclosures Is Troubling.” According to the California Reinvestment Coalition, “‘This newly uncovered data about Financial Freedom’s outsized role in HECM foreclosures is troubling, and suggests the need for a thorough and transparent investigation,’ comments Maeve Elise Brown, executive director at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates. HUD declined to fully answer CRC’s FOIA request, which also asked for other information, including the number of complaints made against Financial Freedom, because HUD estimated it would take 120 years for the regulator to compile the information.” [California Reinvestment Coalition, 7/7/16]

OneWest “Coldbloodedly” Foreclosed On Debtors

2009: Judge Blasted OneWest For “Unconscionable,” “Repulsive” Acts Against Debtors

November 2009: Suffolk County Judge Wiped Out $525,000 Mortgage Payments Demanded By OneWest For Its “Harsh, Repugnant, Shocking And Repulsive” Acts Against Debtors After Taking $814 Million Federal Bailout. According to the New York Post, “A Long Island couple is home free after an outraged judge gave them an amazing Thanksgiving present — canceling their debt to ruthless bankers trying to toss them out on the street. Suffolk Judge Jeffrey Spinner wiped out $525,000 in mortgage payments demanded by a California bank, blasting its ‘harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive’ acts. The bombshell decision leaves Diane Yano-Horoski and her husband, Greg Horoski, owing absolutely no money on their ranch house in East Patchogue. Spinner pulled no punches as he smacked down the bankers at OneWest — who took an $814.2 million federal bailout but have a record of coldbloodedly foreclosing on any homeowner owing money.” [New York Post, 11/25/09]

  • Judge: OneWest’s Conduct “Inequitable, Unconscionable, Vexatious And Opprobrious” For Misleading Debtors And Engaging In “Mortifying Abuse.”According to the New York Post, “Spinner excoriated OneWest for repeatedly refusing to work out a deal, for misleading him about the dollar amounts at stake in the case, and for its treatment of the couple over months of hearings. OneWest’s conduct was ‘inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious,’ Spinner wrote. He canceled the debt because the bank ‘must be appropriately sanctioned so as to deter it from imposing further mortifying abuse against [the couple].’” [New York Post, 11/25/09]

OneWest Was Accused Of Redlining And Violating The Fair Housing Act

OneWest Had A Sparse Branch Presence In Communities Of Color, With Less No Presence At All In Majority African-American Areas

The California Reinvestment Coalition Called On The Department Of Housing And Urban Development To Fully Investigate The Redlining Practices Of CIT, Which Acquired OneWest, And To “Hold The Bank Accountable For Its Actions And The Harm It Has Caused To Communities.” According to the California Reinvestment Coalition, “In 2014, CIT Group applied to acquire OneWest Bank, and after receiving regulatory approvals, the merger was completed in August, 2015. […] Kevin Stein, deputy director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, explains: ‘Our analysis of OneWest suggests the bank has no significant branch presence in communities of color, and not surprisingly, its home loans to borrowers and communities of color are low in absolute terms, low compared to its peer banks, and low when compared to what one would expect, given the size of the Asian American, African American, and Latino populations in California. During 2014 and 2015, OneWest originated exactly two mortgage loans to African American borrowers in its assessment area. OneWest was far more likely to foreclose in communities of color than to make loans available to people in these communities. We call on HUD to fully investigate CIT’s redlining practices and to hold the bank accountable for its actions and the harm it has caused to communities.’” [California Reinvestment Coalition, 11/17/16]

OneWest Had A Sparse Branch Presence In Communities Of Color, Which California Reinvestment Coalition Complained “Effectively Makes Banking Services And Credit Products (Including Mortgages) Less Available To People Based On Their Race, Color, And National Origin.” According to the California Reinvestment Coalition, “OneWest Bank Branches appear to avoid communities of color: OneWest’s sparse branch presence in communities of color effectively makes banking services and credit products (including mortgages) less available to people based on their race, color, and national origin, according to the complaint.” A chart showed that there were 74 total OneWest branches in California, with one in an Asian majority tract, none in any African-American majority tract and eleven in Hispanic majority tracts. [California Reinvestment Coalition, 11/17/16]

OneWest Had Less Than 15% Of Its Branches In Majority Hispanic Areas, Less Than 2% Of Its Branches In Majority Asian Areas And No Branches In Majority Black Areas. According to the California Reinvestment Coalition, “OneWest Bank Branches appear to avoid communities of color: OneWest’s sparse branch presence in communities of color effectively makes banking services and credit products (including mortgages) less available to people based on their race, color, and national origin, according to the complaint.” A chart showed that there were 74 total OneWest branches in California, with one in an Asian majority tract, none in any African-American majority tract and eleven in Hispanic majority tracts. [California Reinvestment Coalition, 11/17/16]

More Than Two-Thirds Of OneWest’s Foreclosures Took Place In Minority Communities

Headline: “Trump’s New Money Man Has A ‘Repulsive’ Record Of Throwing Homeowners Out On The Street.” [Daily Beast, 5/5/16]

Of OneWest’s 35,877 California Foreclosures From April 2009 To April 2015, 68% Occurred In Majority Non-White Areas. According to the Daily Beast, “Similarly, OneWest Bank foreclosed on more communities of color than white communities. Of the 35,877 foreclosures the bank conducted in California from April 2009 to April 2015, 68 percent occurred in areas where the non-white population was 50 percent or higher.” [Daily Beast, 5/5/16]

  • California Reinvestment CoalitionDeputy Director Kevin Stein: “OneWest Was Far More Likely To Foreclose In Communities Of Color Than To Make Loans Available To People In These Communities.” According to the California Reinvestment Coalition, “Kevin Stein, deputy director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, explains: ‘Our analysis of OneWest suggests the bank has no significant branch presence in communities of color, and not surprisingly, its home loans to borrowers and communities of color are low in absolute terms, low compared to its peer banks, and low when compared to what one would expect, given the size of the Asian American, African American, and Latino populations in California. During 2014 and 2015, OneWest originated exactly two mortgage loans to African American borrowers in its assessment area. OneWest was far more likely to foreclose in communities of color than to make loans available to people in these communities.’” [California Reinvestment Coalition, 11/17/16]
Mnuchin’s Home Was Protested In Response To OneWest’s Foreclosure Patterns

The California Reinvestment Coalition Protested Mnuchin’s Home Because The Bulk Of OneWest’s Foreclosures Took Place In Minority Communities. According to the L.A. Times, “The California Reinvestment Coalition, which pushes banks to offer fair and equal access to credit, claimed that the bulk of OneWest’s estimated 35,000 foreclosures took place in minority communities and that the bank was notoriously difficult when dealing with homeowners and housing counselors. It was alleged practices like those that drew the ire of the ‘Make Banks Pay’ protesters who visited Mnuchin’s home.” [L.A. Times, 11/12/16]

Rose Gudiel Claimed She, Her Elderly Parents Were Evicted From Her Home By OneWest Despite Having Money To Pay For Mortgage. According to the SGV Tribune, “Embattled Bassett resident Rose Gudiel Tuesday night marched a group of about 100 people up the winding, hilly roads of Bel Air to the front gate of the $26.5 million home of Steven Mnuchin, Pasadena bank OneWest CEO. ‘I have the money to pay for my home,’ Gudiel said. ‘I didn’t want any of this. All I want is for the bank to let us keep our home.’ The boisterous group grabbed the attention of the wealthy neighborhood’s residents and workers as they carried signs, blew whistles and chanted in English and Spanish that it was time for Mnuchin and OneWest to pay for evicting Gudiel and her elderly parents last month from their home in the 13000 block of Proctor Avenue.” [SGV Tribune, 10/4/11]

Gudiel Claimed She Had Attempted To Modify OneWest Loan With $2,456 Monthly Payment For Two Years, Since Series Of Furloughs And Brothers’ 2009 Murder. According to the SGV Tribune, “Gudiel, a state employee, has been attempting to get OneWest to modify her loan, which requires a $2,456 monthly payment, for almost two years. The request came after a series of furloughs and her brother’s slaying in 2009, which caused the household income to drop, she said.” [SGV Tribune, 10/4/11]

  • SGV Tribune: “Gudiel Claims The Bank Has Given Her The Runaround And Consistently Refused To Give Her A Loan Modification.” According to the SGV Tribune, “Gudiel claims the bank has given her the runaround and consistently refused to give her a loan modification. They constantly refused to take her payments because she was in the modification process, she said. Most banks require borrowers to be in default before considering modification. ‘I was in the process of modification when I got my foreclosure notice,’ she recalled.” [SGV Tribune, 10/4/11]

Mnuchin Was Accused Of Using Insider Knowledge To Siphon Away Funds When A Project He Invested In Went Bankrupt

Mnuchin’s Bank Recoved Money From A Project He Invested In Shortly Before The Project Went Bankrupt

Headline: “Relativity Co-Chairman Steven Mnuchin Quietly Exited Just Before Big Losses.” [Variety, 8/5/15]

OneWest Was Repaid $50 Million It Lent To Relativity Media, Co-Chaired And Invested In By Mnuchin, Just Before It Filed For Bankruptcy Protection. According to the L.A. Times, “OneWest and Mnuchin also were embroiled in the saga of Relativity Media, the studio co-founded by flashy Hollywood executive Ryan Kavanaugh. Mnuchin had invested in the studio via Dune, and served as nonexecutive co-chairman of the board from October 2014 to May 2015, exiting just ahead of the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to documents from Relativity’s bankruptcy proceedings, OneWest, a lender to the studio, was repaid $50 million it lent to the company just before it filed for bankruptcy protection. A July 2015 filing by Relativity’s financial adviser at Blackstone Group, which was hired to advise the studio before its bankruptcy, said that this repayment exacerbated its ‘already problematic liquidity situation.’” [L.A. Times, 11/12/16]

  • Variety: Relativity Investors Were Disgruntled After Relativity Allowed Mnuchin-Tied OneWest Bank To Drain $50 Million From The Studio Just Weeks Prior To Filing For Insolvency. According to Variety, “With Relativity’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last week, those high hopes have been dashed, and Mnuchin has been left in a particularly uncomfortable position. The money-man and fellow investors in a Dune Capital fund are said to have lost as much as $80 million — equity that is almost certain to be lost for good, said two sources familiar with the situation. And disgruntled Relativity investors privately are questioning how a bank Mnuchin once headed –OneWest Bank of Pasadena – was allowed by Relativity to drain $50 million from the studio just weeks prior to the July 30 insolvency filing.” [Variety, 8/5/15]

An Investor Sued, Alleging Mnuchin “Was In A Unique Position, Affording Him Knowledge Of Both Relativity’s Precarious Financial Position And The Ability To Ensure Certain Creditors — Namely, OneWest Bank — Were Able To Siphon Away Funds.” According to the L.A. Times, “But the issue of the $50 million repayment also surfaced in a civil lawsuit filed by RKA Film Financing, an investor in Relativity, against Kavanaugh, Mnuchin and others. The case, which was filed in New York County Supreme Court and included allegations of fraud, claimed that money RKA lent to Relativity was used for purposes other than those it was earmarked for. The lawsuit alleged that at least some of RKA’s money was likely included in the funds paid to OneWest. The complaint, which was first filed last year and amended in March, claimed that Mnuchin ‘was in a unique position, affording him knowledge of both Relativity’s precarious financial position and the ability to ensure certain creditors — namely, OneWest Bank — were able to siphon away funds that had been commingled with RKA’s [money].’” [L.A. Times, 11/12/16]

Mnuchin Could Benefit From Confirmation With Millions In Tax Savings

If Confirmed As Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin Could Save Millions By Selling Stock Tax-Free After Reinvesting The Proceeds In Treasuries Or In Government-Approved Funds. According to Bloomberg Politics, “If Mnuchin is confirmed for the Treasury role, it could save him millions in taxes. A 1989 rule allows him to sell stock tax-free if he reinvests the proceeds in Treasuries or in government-approved funds. The loophole was designed for executives who need to sell shares to comply with conflict-of-interest rules.” [Bloomberg Politics, 11/12/16]

 

Mnuchin Profited Millions From Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme

Mnuchin And His Family Made Over $3.2 Million From His Mother’s Account With Convicted Con Man Bernard Madoff. According to Bloomberg Politics, “Donald Trump’s new national finance chairman and his family pocketed about $3.2 million in fake profit from his mother’s account with convicted con man Bernard Madoff — money that didn’t have to be returned to victims because it was taken out of the Ponzi scheme in time. Steven Mnuchin, a business associate of Trump’s and also chairman and chief executive officer of the hedge fund Dune Capital Management LP, was sued in 2010 by a trustee seeking to recoup Madoff investors’ losses from customers who’d withdrawn more money from his firm than they put in.” [Bloomberg Politics, 5/6/16]

  • Mnuchin And His Brother Inherited The Account When His Mother Died In February 2005, Withdrawing The Madoff Money Within A Few Months. According to Bloomberg Politics, “When Mnuchin’s mother, Elaine Cooper, died in February 2005, he and his brother Alan Mnuchin were named as beneficiaries and executors of her estate, according to the complaint. Within a few months, they withdrew the cash from her Madoff account. Madoff, a respected financier for decades, was arrested in December 2008. Picard said $3.2 million of the Mnuchin family’s withdrawal was fake profit that belonged to other investors.” [Bloomberg Politics, 5/6/16]

Mnuchin Was Among The Customers Allowed To Keep About $2 Billion In Stolen Money After A Lawsuit Against Him Was Dropped Last Year Because Of Time Restrictions. According to Bloomberg Politics, “Steven Mnuchin, a business associate of Trump’s and also chairman and chief executive officer of the hedge fund Dune Capital Management LP, was sued in 2010 by a trustee seeking to recoup Madoff investors’ losses from customers who’d withdrawn more money from his firm than they put in. Mnuchin was named to the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign on Thursday. The suit against the hedge fund manager was dropped last year because of time restrictions imposed on the Madoff trustee, Irving Picard, in a ruling that allowed hundreds of customers to keep about $2 billion in stolen money. […] The ruling prevented Picard from recovering as much as $2 billion. In all, thousands of Madoff investors lost $17.5 billion in principal.” [Bloomberg Politics, 5/6/16]