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Sep 30, 2013

Bank of America in record settlement over ‘robocall’ complaints

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America has agreed to pay $32 million to settle charges that it made harassing debt collection calls to customers’ cell phones, in what is believed to be the largest cash payout ever under a 1991 law meant to protect consumers from unwanted calls.

The settlement will resolve multiple proposed class action lawsuits filed on behalf of 7.7 million of the bank’s credit card and mortgage loan customers, according to court documents.

Sep 20, 2013

Lawsuit accuses JPMorgan of exposing Social Security numbers

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit accusing it of printing Social Security numbers on the outsides of form letters mailed to customers to tell them about the bank’s efforts to protect their private information.

Filed on Thursday in federal court in Chicago, the lawsuit accused the largest bank in the United States of violating federal and state laws and subjecting its customers to increased risk of identity theft.

Sep 9, 2013

JPMorgan in $300 million settlement over force-placed insurance

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and a major insurer have agreed to a $300 million settlement to resolve accusations that they forced homeowners into over-priced property insurance and entered into kickback arrangements that inflated the policies’ prices.

The lawsuit being settled – one of several targeting large U.S. banks over force-placed insurance – said that the improper practices unjustly enriched JPMorgan and insurer Assurant Inc by more than $1 billion since 2008.

Aug 19, 2013

Watchdog finds problems in dozens of U.S. broker-dealer audits

NEW YORK, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Many financial auditors are
failing to properly check for accounting fraud risks at U.S.
broker-dealers or test controls over customer funds, new
inspections mandated by Congress after Bernard Madoff’s massive
Ponzi scheme have found.

In its second inspection report on broker-dealer audits, the
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, an auditor watchdog,
said it found problems at 95 percent of the 60 audits it

Aug 16, 2013

CFTC asks court not to dismiss suit against U.S. Bancorp unit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. regulators on Thursday asked a federal court not to dismiss their lawsuit against a bank tied to the blow-up of brokerage Peregrine Financial, saying the bank helped bring about millions of dollars of losses for Peregrine customers.

At issue is a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission in June against U.S. Bank N.A., a unit of U.S. Bancorp, based in Minneapolis. The lawsuit accused the bank of letting Peregrine founder Russell Wasendorf Sr secure loans against money that belonged to his brokerage’s customers.

Jul 24, 2013

Former SEC chief accountant named to U.S. accounting board

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former chief accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been named to the private board that sets corporate accounting standards as it conducts a controversial overhaul of corporate America’s bookkeeping.

James Kroeker, 44, will be a vice chairman of the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board, the board’s parent organization, the Financial Accounting Foundation said in a statement on Wednesday.

Jul 10, 2013

China ready to hand over audit documents to U.S. regulators

SHANGHAI/NEW YORK (Reuters) – China’s securities watchdog said it is ready to turn over audit documents of a Chinese company listed in the United States to U.S. regulators, signaling a second breakthrough in a two-year international dispute over accounting scandals.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been struggling to get papers out of China to investigate possible accounting fraud at dozens of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. China, for years, has resisted turning over documents because of state secrets and sovereignty concerns.

Jul 3, 2013

House may vote soon on controversial auditor issue

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on whether an auditor industry watchdog can force companies to switch auditors every few years, breaking up some business ties that have lasted over a century.

Regulators in the United States and Europe have been considering limits to audit firms’ terms after auditors failed to warn of problems at banks that failed in the 2007-2009 global financial crisis.

Jun 27, 2013

Choppier profits seen on U.S. insurance accounting shake-up

NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) – The biggest overhaul of
insurance accounting in 30 years will advance a step on Thursday
with the release of a proposal that some insurers fear could
make their profits more volatile.

In a move to align financial statements worldwide, the U.S.
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) aims to shine a
light into what some call the “black box” of insurers’ finances.

Jun 26, 2013

Accounting board seeks ‘going concern’ self-test for US firms

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. companies would have to regularly assess their ability to continue as a going concern under a proposal issued on Wednesday by accounting rule-makers, an attempt to ensure investors get timelier warnings when companies get in trouble.

The proposal from the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board calls for companies to evaluate each quarter their ability to survive as a going concern, or stay afloat and pay its obligations. Currently, the company’s auditors are primarily responsible for making this evaluation.