The more than $113 billion New York City Pension Funds have been granted right of passage by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to present a foreclosure request on big bank shareholder ballots.
Shortly, some of the nation’s largest financial institutions, Bank of America (BofA), Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, will meet at their annual spring meeting. They will now have to leave a shareholder ballot slot open for the pension fund inquiry, however.
City Comptroller John Liu said today that the Washington, D.C.-based regulator “shot down the banks’ claims that they had already conducted independent reviews of their foreclosure processes.
An example of this independent claim can be seen by comments offered by Rick Simon, a spokesperson for Bank of America Home Loans. He stated in January that “the letter from the pension funds appears to bring up a concern that the bank is already addressing” through its own usage of “external auditors” in the fall.
At the time, Liu along with a nationwide coalition of more than $432 billion in pension fund assets linked up to request the financial companies’ Boards of Directors to “launch independent examinations of their loan modifications, foreclosure, and securitization policies and procedures.”
As a result of the SEC’s new determination, Citigroup, BofA and Wells Fargo shareholders will have to weigh in on the New York City plans’ request that bank mortgage and foreclosure review ought to be subject to an independent review.
Liu also noted in the March 23 announcement that JPMorgan was allowed to remove the City request due to the fact “that another group of shareholders filed a similar proposal first.”
Furthermore, on Wednesday, Liu mandated that despite attempts by the companies to “try and kick us off the ballot,” shareholders have “prevailed” in bringing this topic to the forefront.
Previously, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup all declined comment on the matter.
Presently, the City Comptroller serves as an investment advisor, custodian and trustee of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System, the New York City Police Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund and the Board of Education Retirement System.
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