Monday, February 8, 2016

A.G. Schneiderman Announces $470 Million Joint State-Federal Settlement With HSBC To Address Mortgage Loan Origination, Servicing, And Foreclosure Abuses

Agreement To Provide Certain New York Borrowers With Loan Modifications; Foreclosed HSBC Loans May Be Eligible For Payments For Past Abuse
    Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced a $470 million joint state-federal settlement with mortgage lender and servicer HSBC to address mortgage origination, servicing, and foreclosure abuses.
The settlement provides direct payments to New York borrowers for past foreclosure abuses, loan modifications, and other relief for borrowers in need of assistance, rigorous mortgage servicing standards, and grants oversight authority to an independent monitor. It is estimated that New York State has nearly 136,000 HSBC loans, nearly 31% of HSBC’s total portfolio.
The settlement includes New York,48 other states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
“There has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or how powerful, and that includes lenders who engage in abusive business practices,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The settlement announced today is a joint partnership that will create tough new servicing standards that will ensure fair treatment for HSBC’s borrowers and provide relief to customers across New York State and across the country.”
HSBC Agreement Closely Mirrors National Mortgage Settlement
The agreement’s mortgage servicing terms largely mirrors the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) reached in February of 2012 between the federal government, 49 state attorneys general, including New York, and the five largest national mortgage servicers. That agreement provided consumers nationwide with more than $50 billion in direct relief, created new servicing standards, and implemented independent oversight.
A subsequent state-federal agreement with SunTrust Mortgage Inc. worth nearly $1 billion was announced in June of 2014.
Attorney General Schneiderman previously announced a national, multi-billion settlement with mortgage servicing giant OCWEN in December of 2013.
Loan Modifications
The HSBC agreement requires the company to provide certain New York borrowers with loan modifications or other relief. The modifications, which HSBC chooses through an extensive list of options, include principal reductions and refinancing for underwater mortgages. HSBC decides how many loans and which loans to modify, but must meet certain minimum targets. Because HSBC receives only partial settlement credit for many types of loan modifications, the settlement will provide relief to borrowers that will exceed the overall minimum amount.
Payments to Borrowers
Nearly 136,000 eligible New York borrowers whose loans were serviced by HSBC and who lost their home to foreclosure from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012 and encountered servicing abuse will be eligible for a payment from the national $59.3 million fund for payments to borrowers. The borrower payment amount will depend on how many borrowers file claims.
Eligible borrowers will be contacted about how to qualify for payments.
Mortgage Servicing Standards
The settlement requires HSBC to substantially change how it services mortgage loans, handles foreclosures, and ensures the accuracy of information provided in federal bankruptcy court.
The terms will prevent past foreclosure abuses, such as robo-signing, improper documentation and lost paperwork.
The settlement’s consumer protections and standards include:
  • Making foreclosure a last resort by first requiring HSBC to evaluate homeowners for other loss mitigation options;
  • Restricting foreclosure while the homeowner is being considered for a loan modification;
  • Procedures and timelines for reviewing loan modification applications;
  • Giving homeowners the right to appeal denials;
  • Requiring a single point of contact for borrowers seeking information about their loans and maintaining adequate staff to handle calls.
Independent Monitor
The National Mortgage Settlement’s independent monitor, Joseph A. Smith Jr., will oversee HSBC agreement compliance for one year. Smith served as the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks from 2002 until 2012, and is also the former Chairman of the Conference of State Banks Supervisors (CSBS). Smith will oversee implementation of the servicing standards required by the agreement and issue public reports that identify whether HSBC complied or fell short of the standards imposed by the settlement. If HSBC is alleged to have violated terms of the agreement, the states and federal agencies can seek relief through the court.
Additional Terms
The agreement resolves potential violations of civil law based on HSBC’s deficient mortgage loan origination and servicing activities. The agreement does not prevent state or federal authorities from pursuing criminal enforcement actions related to this or other conduct by HSBC, or from punishing wrongful securitization conduct that is the focus of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group. Additionally, the agreement does not prevent any action by individual borrowers who wish to bring their own lawsuits.
The agreement will be filed as a consent judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 

Senator Klein introduces new Paid Family Leave legislation; Bill would grant New York’s hardworking families 12-weeks paid leave by 2017 Inbox x

  Bill would grant New York’s hardworking families 12-weeks paid leave by 2017

 State Senator Jeff Klein introduced Paid Family Leave legislation (S.3301A) on Monday that would grant New York’s hardworking families up to 12-weeks off to take care of a newborn or a sick loved one without fretting over finances.

“No person should ever have to choose between what their heart is telling them to do and what their bank account allows them to do. Dealing with the magical time of welcoming a newborn into the world or the essential time of seeing a loved one through a serious illness shouldn’t be a luxury for the few. We must make it a priority to pass my Paid Family Leave bill to give the workforce the time off that they need to deal with the ups and downs of life,” said Senator Klein.

Long a champion of Paid Family Leave, Senator Klein’s bill puts no burden on businesses and could cost employees as little as 27 cents a week. If passed, it could take effect by 2017 with benefits incrementally increasing as employees pay into the system until 2020 when full benefits are realized.

Under this proposal, workers taking Paid Family Leave could receive:

  • ⅔ of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 35% of the statewide average weekly wage by January 1, 2017.

  • 70% of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 40% of the statewide average weekly wage by April 1, 2018.

  • 75% of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 45% of the statewide average weekly wage by April 1, 2019.

  • 80% of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 50% of the statewide average weekly wage by April 1, 2020.

A Paid Family Leave eligible employee must work for a business for at least four weeks.

Federal law allows workers to take 12-weeks of unpaid family leave, but working- and middle-class New Yorkers cannot afford to be out of work for without pay for a three month period.

California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have enacted Paid Family Leave proposals.

As a father of two young children, I know first-hand how important it is for a parent to be there for a child in their early years. Unfortunately many families are forced to make the unfair choice of being able to truly care for their newborn or earn the income they need to survive. Enacting comprehensive paid family leave will greatly improve the quality of life of countless middle class New Yorkers. We owe this to our children and our children's children,” said Senator David Carlucci.

“As the cost-of-living in New York rises, it has become increasingly difficult to raise a family or care for a sick loved one, while trying to keep your financial head above water. Many families struggle with choosing between their personal and work lives, when they should be focused on welcoming a new family member or staying by their loved one’s bedside. New York State has always been a leader, and now is the time for us to lead again - we must pass Paid Family Leave,” said Senator Diane Savino.

“Upstate New York has always had some of the hardest working families in the state. When families are faced with a big change - the arrival of a child or a family member’s illness - they deserve the peace of mind that, after working hard every day, they will not be forced to choose between caring for those who are most important or their paycheck. That is why I am proud to support Paid Family Leave. Together, we can ensure that every family has the peace of mind they deserve,” said Senator David Valesky.

“As a long time advocate for affordability in New York, I understand how important Paid Family Leave is to New York’s working and middle class families. Raising a family in an increasingly expensive city has left many people trying to balance their budget over spending time with loved ones when they are most in need. Many New Yorkers already recognize this - with 80 percent of New Yorkers supporting Paid Family Leave. It’s time for the legislature to recognize this, too, and to pass Paid Family Leave,” said Senator Avella.

Welcome 19 New Members to The Bronx Chamber of Commerce

  WELCOME 19 New Members!

Since December 2015 to February 8, 2016 - Nineteen New Member Companies have joined The Bronx Chamber of Commerce. They are:
A.S.A.P Mortgage 
ATM  Advantage
Apple Bank
Century 21 Schneider Realty
Cablevision Media
Destructive Game World LLC
Financial Services
Flushing Bank
Home Helpers
ISE Office
Informa Energy Inc
Morgan Stanley
New York Life
Pergolis Swartz Inc
S & M Moving
Sothebys International
Stadium Tennis Center
South Bronx Overall
Williams Center  / Jackson ddp
Let's keep the momentum going to make a Greater Bronx Chamber of Commerce. 

I need your support and cooperation to strongly request companies that you do business with to join the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. If you do not ask, it does not happen.

Inform your contacts that "if they want do continue to do business with you and your company, they should join the Bronx Chamber of Commerce". If you make it a requirement, they will join!

We are witnessing a renaissance in our great borough that is unprecedented. Together, we will grow the Chamber, enhance its influence and further improve the image of "The Bronx"!
Below is a Brochure that includes a Membership Application. If you need a supply of the printed Brochure to distribute or display in your office or place of business, please contact Josann Ferguson at (718) 828-3900.

Nunzio Del Greco
President and CEO
Bronx Chamber of Commerce
"The Network For Business Success"
1200 Waters Place, Suite 106
Bronx, NY 10461
Please mark your calendar and plan on attending some of 
the following events:
February 11, 2016   Annual Valentine's Business Networking
                                Marriott Resident Inn 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
February 24, 2016  African American Heritage Cocktail Party
                                Tosca Marquee 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
March 9, 2016         Irish Heritage Luncheon
                                Rambling House 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
March 18, 2016       Women of Distinction Luncheon
                                Villa Barone Manor 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
April 13, 2016          Annual Gala
                          Marina del Rey Caterers 5:30 pm -10:30 pm
May 3, 2016            Annual Golf Outing
                                Trump Links 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
June 16, 2016          Annual Business Expo
                            The Mall at Bay Plaza 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

December 14, 2016   Annual Holiday Party  
       Villa Barone Manor 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm


  Will seek court injunction to block imposition of the new charges 

  Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda and State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. have scheduled a rally of Parkchester owner-residents for the afternoon of Feb. 10, at 4:00 p.m., in front of the management office to continue their protest against management and the board’s plan to impose a 15+ percent monthly increase in common charges assessed to Parkchester South condo owners. They will also announce plans to file for an injunction to block imposition of the common charges hike, with individual owners to be asked to contribute $15 for legal costs. 

“The fact that repairs may be necessary throughout Parkchester South,” said Sepúlveda, “does not give management or the board carte blanche to do as they please and without any discussion impose draconian increases that will be devastating to the elderly, single families, the disabled, and others who are already struggling to keep up.” 

Sepúlveda added that Parkchester South management and board “needs to be more accountable and to participate in meetings with the community and its elected officials.” 

State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. joined in support. “While Parkchester Management insists that they are operating with full transparency, it’s more than two months that I have been waiting for them to send me a copy of the projected budget for 2016,” said Diaz. “This sudden boost of more than 15 percent in the monthly maintenance burden is unaffordable and unacceptable for the families, seniors, and residents who never saw it coming. 

“I also need to be very clear,” continued Diaz, “especially as a government official, that I refuse to partake in any closed-door meetings with Parkchester management. If management has something to say or to share, we all need to be able to hear what it is." 

For further information please contact Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda at 718-931-2620. 


  Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on President Obama’s request for funding to respond to the spreading Zika virus:

“The President’s request for funding to address the Zika virus shows that the Administration is taking this problem seriously, and Congress should act quickly to provide these resources.  This funding will help meet specific needs for containing this disease and helping those it has affected, such as vaccine development, health worker training, care for pregnant women, better detection methods, and management of mosquito populations in the United States and throughout the Americas. 

“I am concerned that the Administration’s request doesn’t address access to family planning information and supplies, which must be central to the response.  Nearly 20 million Latin American women of reproductive age lack access to contraception.  Unfortunately, access is often most limited among low-income women and those living in rural areas—populations facing the greatest risk of Zika infections.

“The path forward must include a comprehensive campaign to educate populations about the risks of Zika and the possibility of sexual transmission, paired with enhanced and sustained access to contraception. Women need the right tools to make informed decisions about whether and when to have children. So in addition to the plan the Administration has outlined, we should be supporting the United Nations Population Fund, which is uniquely suited to meet these challenges.

“As Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I will continue to monitor this situation and push Congress to provide whatever resources are needed.”

Bronx Jewish Community Council - Project HOPE Passover Delivery 2016

Spring Art Workshops at Wave Hill 

Bronx, NY, February 8, 2016—Let your creativity bloom at Wave Hill this spring with a budding new season of art workshops. Connect with nature while enhancing your skills in photography, painting, collage and more. Led by professional artists, these workshops encourage artistic ingenuity, growth and communion with the outdoors. Space is limited—register today!


What: Spring Art Workshops

Where: Wave Hill, West 249th Street and Independence 

Schedule: Collage & Mixed Media Series 

Avenue, Bronx, NY 10471

In this two-part series, learn to use layering techniques and mixed media with artist Wennie Huang. 

Sign up for one or both parts. Each session in this two part series is three classes long. $125/$95 Wave Hill Member.

Part I: Nature Morte: 

Thursdays, March 17, 24, 31, 10AM‒1PM 

Wave Hill’s historic interiors become the setting for studies of Nature Morte, or still lifes. Participants explore complex compositions of personal items mingled with natural objects.

Part II: The New Landscape: Thursdays, April 7, 14, 21, 10AM‒1PM 

Reinvent Wave Hill’s gardens and vistas by combining collage materials and found items. 

See the current exhibition in Glyndor Gallery, then explore composition, color and texture, as well as concepts, perspectives and memories related to the natural world, to depict the essence of the landscape.

Nature Photography: Capturing Stillness and Motion: Tuesdays, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 10AM−1PM 

What relationship do you desire between still and moving objects in your pictures? Using the exhibition (Not so) Still Life as a reference, photographer Benjamin Swett guides students in experimenting with different methods for capturing both movement and stillness in nature. $260/$200 Wave Hill Member. 

Painting: Al Fresco Abstractions: Wednesdays, May 5, 12, 19, 26, 10AM−1PM 

Working with pastel, paint, drawing, found images and more, explore the process of deconstructing and reconstructing the observed world with artist Rachael Wren. With Wave Hill’s landscape as a
starting point, work with rhythm, shape, texture, space, scale and composition to depict the inner 
spirit of your subject. Rachel Wren’s work is on view in Wave Hill House this spring. $175/$135 Wave Hill Member.

Drop-in Art Workshop: Tree Portraits with Sgraffito: Sunday, May 1, 11AM-2PM

Sgraffito is the Italian art of scratching through a ceramic or plaster surface to reveal a contrasting 
color beneath. Join local sgraffito artist Marie Leo to capture the sinuous lines of trunks, branches and twigs while etching a scratch board of your own. Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult.

Materials fee: $15/$10 Wave Hill Member per kit, which includes one scratch board, one tool and 
scratch-paper practice sheets. Registration not required. Arbor Week event.