Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court answered a question requested by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by holding that the provision in Cal. Civ. Code 1916-2 prohibiting lenders from assessing compound interest "unless an agreement to that effect is clearly expressed in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith" does not apply to lenders exempt under article XV of the California Constitution. Article XV sets the maximum interest rates lenders may charge but exempts specified classes of lenders from those rate restrictions and authorizes the Legislature to regulate the compensation these exempt lenders may receive. At issue was whether exempt lenders are required to obtain a borrower's signed agreement in order to charge compound interest on a loan. The Supreme Court held that exempt lenders are not required to obtain a borrower's signed agreement in order to charge compound interest on a loan. View "Wishnev v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Prima Donna’s president, opened commercial bank accounts at Wells Fargo; he signed or agreed to be bound by several agreements, including wire transfer agreements. The commercial account agreement contained an arbitration agreement. A Prima employee was the victim of fraud and authorized wire transfers to foreign banks. Before Prima reported the fraud, $638,400 had been transferred and could not be recovered. Prima sued, alleging that Wells Fargo did not employ reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing and failed to follow the agreement's security procedures. The court ordered arbitration, stating “The fact that UCC provisions displace common law provisions and provide the law under which claims are analyzed" is unrelated to what type of fact-finder can apply that law. The arbitrator concluded that Wells Fargo was not liable for the loss. The court of appeal concluded the trial court properly ordered the matter to arbitration and confirmed the award. The court rejected arguments that the arbitration agreement was substantively unconscionable because the arbitrator would not necessarily decide the dispute under California law, because it denied Prima its right to a jury trial, or because of the limited nature of judicial review. The arbitration process allowed for discovery, an arbitrator who voluntarily recused himself after Prima expressed concern about his impartiality, a multi-day hearing, written discovery, evidentiary rulings, and a reasoned, written award that applied relevant California law, View "Prima Donna Development Corp. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Bank, asserting claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. Determining that plaintiff had Article III standing, the Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiff has stated three plausible claims for relief under the FCRA, where he alleged that the Bank willfully violated the FCRA by failing to investigate his dispute and unlawfully obtained his credit report. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings. However, plaintiff did not plausibly state a claim under the FDCPA, because the least sophisticated consumer would not believe that Chase Home Finance was a third-party debt collector distinct from the Bank. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the FDCPA claim. View "Pinson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA" on Justia Law

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Norman, a school teacher, opened a “numbered” Swiss bank account with UBS in 1999. Statements for the account list only the account number, not Norman’s name or address. From 2001-2008, her balance ranged between $1.5 million-$2.5 million. Norman was actively involved in managing and controlling her account. She gave UBS investment instructions and prohibited UBS from investing in U.S. securities on her behalf, which helped prevent disclosure of her account to the IRS. She took withdrawals in cash. In 2008, Norman expressed displeasure when she was informed of UBS’s decision to “no longer provide offshore banking” and to work “with the US Government to identify the names of US clients who may have engaged in tax fraud.” Just before UBS publicly announced this plan, Norman closed her UBS account, transferring her funds to another foreign bank. Under 31 U.S.C. 5314(a), U.S. persons who have relationships with foreign financial agencies are required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) with the Treasury Department. When the IRS discovered her account during an audit, Norman initially expressed shock to learn that she had a foreign account and subsequently tried to claim that she did not control the account. The Federal Circuit affirmed a Claims Court finding that Norman willfully failed to file an FBAR in 2007 and the IRS properly assessed a penalty of $803,530 for this failure. View "Norman v. United States" on Justia Law

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Heredia received four collection letters from CMS, a collections firm, and claims that the language in this correspondence violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692(e). The Seventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of the case, finding that Heredia has plausibly alleged that the dunning letter violated the FDCPA. The letters, which proposed a payment plan, stated: “Discover may file a 1099C form” and that “[s]ettling a debt for less than the balance owed may have tax consequences.” Language in a dunning letter violates section 1692e if the creditor used false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of debt. Under section 1692f, a debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Although it is not technically illegal or impossible for Discover to file a 1099C form with the IRS if the amount is under $600, “a collection letter can be literally true” and still misleading. The defendants do not dispute that Discover would never file a 1099C form unless required to do so by law (forgiving $600 or more of principal). In the case of the Heredia letter, Discover would never file a 1099C form because in no circumstances would Discover be forgiving at least $600 in principal. View "Heredia v. Capital Management Services, L.P." on Justia Law

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Winget created the Trust, retaining the right to revoke the Trust at any time and to receive income generated by the trust property during his lifetime. He also served as the trustee with broad powers. Venture (a company owned by Winget) sought a loan from Chase. Winget guaranteed the loan both in his individual capacity and as a representative of the Trust. Venture defaulted on the loan, Chase sued. During one of six previous appeals, the Sixth Circuit held that the guarantee agreement limited Winget’s personal liability to $50 million but did not limit the Trust’s liability. Winget paid Chase $50 million; the Trust has not satisfied its obligation and now owes $750 million. The Sixth Circuit affirmed that Chase could recover that money from the Trust property. Under Michigan law trusts can enter into contracts and satisfy their contractual obligations through the trust property. Creditors can sue to recover from the trust property, just like with any other contract. Under Michigan law and the trust agreement, Winget had the power to enter into contracts on behalf of the Trust. The court rejected Winget’s argument that he “owns” the trust property because he can revoke the Trust and pays taxes on the trust property and that Chase cannot take the property to satisfy the Trust’s obligation. The trust property would not be used to satisfy Winget’s personal liability but would be used to satisfy the Trust’s liability. View "JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget" on Justia Law

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CitiMortgage filed suit against Equity, demanding that Equity repurchase 12 residential mortgage loans. CitiMortgage had notified Equity that it needed to take action under the cure-or-purchase provision in the parties' Agreement. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the magistrate judge's ruling that Equity's duty to repurchase was limited to the six loans that had not gone through foreclosure. In regard to the loans that had not gone through foreclosure, the court affirmed the district court's holding that Equity breached the Agreement. The court rejected Equity's claims that CitiMortgage's letters lacked the necessary detail to trigger its duty to perform and that CitiMortgage waited too long to exercise its rights. In regard to the six loans that had gone through foreclosure, the court affirmed the district court's holding that Equity owed nothing to CitiMortgage. In this case, CitiMortgage has not explained what, exactly, Equity was supposed to repurchase. View "CitiMortgage, Inc. v. Equity Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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A consumer suffers a concrete injury in fact when a third-party obtains her credit report for a purpose not authorized by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); a consumer-plaintiff need allege only that her credit report was obtained for a purpose not authorized by the statute to survive a motion to dismiss; and the defendant has the burden of pleading it obtained the report for an authorized purpose. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim under the FCRA for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The panel held that plaintiff pleaded facts sufficient to give rise to a reasonable inference that the Bank obtained her credit report for an unauthorized purpose. In this case, she pleaded that she did not have a credit relationship with the Bank of the kind specified in 15 U.S.C. 1681b(a)(3)(A)–(F), the Bank submitted numerous credit report inquires to Experian, and plaintiff put forth factual assertions which negative each permissible purpose for which Capital One could have obtained her credit report and for which she could possibly have personal knowledge. View "Nayab v. Capital One Bank" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals concluding that a promissory note executed by Ronny Stamper in April 1997 qualified as a negotiable instrument and, consequently, applying the six-year statute of limitations under Article 3 of Kentucky's Uniform Commercial Code, holding that the court of appeals properly considered Ky. Rev. Stat. 355.3-118 and that the note was a negotiable instrument under Ky. Rev. Stat. 355.3-104. Community Financial Services Bank brought this suit in January 2016 to enforce the promissory note at issue. Stamper argued that the action was untimely under the fifteen-year statute of limitations for written contracts. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Bank, concluding that the fifteen-year statute of limitations had not yet expired based on the maturity date listed on the promissory note. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the applicable statute of limitations was section 355.3-118 and, therefore, the action was time-barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Bank's attempt to enforce the promissory note was untimely under section 355.3-118. View "Community Financial Services Bank v. Stamper" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Pennymac and others for wrongful foreclosure, alleging that the assignment of his mortgage to Pennymac was invalid. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's decision to sustain the defense demurrer because plaintiff failed to allege facts supporting his claim. In this case, plaintiff's complaint seemed to suggest that a borrower, by refusing to pay, can prevent a lender from assigning the debt. The court held that plaintiff failed to give a logical basis for this strange suggestion. Furthermore, plaintiff's remaining causes of action also failed. View "Myles v. Pennymac Loan Services, LLC" on Justia Law