Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

The world’s local bank can’t seem to stop breaking the law

http://media.washtimes.com/media/community/photos/blog/entries/2011/08/09/HSBC-640_s640x427.jpg?73b8e21685896c3f2859310aaa5adb253919b641

HSBC Bank, formerly known as The World’s Local Bank, can’t seem to catch a break lately.  Barely six months since the bank was ordered to pay $1.9 billion to settle charges of money laundering, the bank is being sued again.  This time, the law suit is coming from New York State.  Here’s the story from BBC News:

 

HSBC is being sued by the state of New York for allegedly ignoring a law designed to protect US homeowners from losing their houses.

HSBC’s “illegal business practices make it more likely that homeowners will unnecessarily lose their homes,” the lawsuit states.

It accuses Europe’s largest bank of being too slow to file paperwork in 300 foreclosure cases in New York state.

HSBC said it was committed to complying with the laws regarding foreclosure.

In a statement it added: “We will respond appropriately to the state attorney general in this matter.”

New York state law requires lenders to make a “request for judicial intervention” when they sue a homeowner to begin an action to recover mortgage repayments.

The request is supposed to lead to a so-called settlement conference within 60 days, giving the homeowner a final chance to renegotiate their loan payments before they lose their homes.

“(HSBC’s) business practices not only violate the law, but they make it more likely that homeowners will unnecessarily lose their homes,” State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in the court filing.

Mr Schneiderman’s HSBC lawsuit comes just a month after he said he was prepared to sue Bank of America and Wells Fargo for violating terms of a $25bn nationwide settlement over mortgage servicing abuses.

He said in May that the banks had failed to meet the agreed timetable for processing mortgage modification applications.

At the time, Mr Schneiderman said: “Although identifying these cases takes significant resources, my office will continue to bring these types of cases until every homeowner in the shadow docket receives the relief they are legally entitled to.”

Read the original story from BBC News.

 

Last December, The Economist dubbed the bank ‘too-big-to-jail,’ which seems to be how politicians and central bankers feel on both sides of the Atlantic.  We covered HSBC’s ‘poor decisions’ over the past decade in an earlier post here.  What’s interesting after watching law suit after law suit appear, is to go to HSBC’s website and read the page titled “Our Values.”  Here are a couple of highlights:

 

  • Standing firm for what is right, delivering on commitments, being resilient and trustworthy
  • Taking personal accountability, being decisive, using judgment and common sense, empowering others

    

The page ends with a statement from the bank’s CEO:

“By setting the highest standards of behaviour our aim is that all of our employees and customers can be proud of our business”

Stuart Gulliver, HSBC Group Chief Executive

 

The bank’s PR departments must be doing some serious damage control at the moment.  A better use of resources should be spent on actually trying to adhere to the bank’s stated values.  It can do so by taking baby steps.  Step #1, don’t break the law.