September 21, 2015 – MAHA joined with community groups from across the nation, led by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), and sent a letter to Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and William Dudley, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in response to Goldman Sachs Bank's proposed acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of GE Capital Bank. The letter in opposition to the acquisition calls for the Federal Reserve to extend the comment period and hold formal hearings on the matter.
"In recent years Goldman Sachs has had to pay billions in settlements for everything from the manipulation of stock market prices, to predatory lending, to deceptive marketing practices, to illegal campaign activity, to betting against their own customers, and more," said NCRC President and CEO John Taylor. It is simply unacceptable for federal bank regulators to allow them to expand their empire. We are also concerned by the history of cozy relationships between the New York Fed and Goldman Sachs, which raises questions about the New York Fed's ability to be impartial in this matter."
The major concerns with the proposed acquisition outlined in the letter are:
•The large amount of redacted information that is customarily made public in Goldman Sachs' application, particularly in its CRA plan.
Much was made of Citibank’s entry into the Boston market in 2006. The bank splashily, and expensively, attached its name to the Wang Center which became the Wang Theater at the Citi Performing Arts Center. Citi opened its first branches in 2007 and soon had 30 in the greater Boston region.
And it had a strategy as well. We will “follow our Smith Barney customers” in Boston. So, the bank established branches in over-banked communities like North Andover (seven branches), Newton (over twenty), Wellesley (seventeen), Needham (ten), Lexington (sixteen) and Brookline (eighteen) eschewing comparatively under-served working class locations such as Dorchester, Roxbury, Brockton and Lawrence. By 2012, Citigroup had sold Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley taking a $2.9 billion write-down in the process.
Citi also never seemed to understand the Massachusetts market. The bank did not offer first-time mortgage programs through either MassHousing or the Massachusetts Housing Partnership. Instead, Citi made feeble attempts to offer “HomeRun”, a promising portfolio mortgage product that could not be used to purchase triple-deckers that populate many urban neighborhoods here.
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