I asked Alys Cohen of the National Consumer Law Center what I can say when people ask me what to do about their foreclosure or mortgage modification nightmare.
My latest column at American Banker was published online on Monday and discussed some of the reasons, I think, why bank auditors are missing or consciously ignoring increased risk and poor to no controls.
You have to go outside of the US to see a trial of a Big Four audit firm to know what I’m talking about. Australia’s Centro case against PwC or Canada’s Nortel case where Deloitte partners testified recently tell you everything you need to know about why the Big Four will settle every time. Rather than have a jury and the public hear and see the pathetic state of the audit profession, its inability to stop executives who want to cheat, and its unwillingness to acknowledge liability as a firm when it screws up, the firms will reach into their seemingly bottomless pockets and pay up.
A column I wrote for American Banker on March 5, 2012, “What Little We Know About Foreclosure Reviews Is Troubling”, was mentioned during the recent House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on issues facing the accounting and auditing industry.
I was the first to report on December 6 the irony of Deloitte having been selected by, of all banks, JP Morgan Chase. The high likelihood of a conflict between the bank and the audit firm, and possibly the individual Deloitte partners assigned to the JP Morgan Chase review, should have been obvious to anyone at the OCC. It turns out I was right.
My October 6 column for American Banker was cited by Congresswoman Maxine Waters and others to support the strong management of conflicts of interest by the OCC in the mortgage servicer reviews as well as full disclosure of vendors and their engagement letters with the banks. On November 22, 2011, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) disclosed the names of the consultants, their clients and redacted versions of the engagement letters between the banks and consultants.
My American Banker column on Tuesday focused on the risks to banks, their audit committees, and shareholders of an auditor who blows off its regulator. Deloitte’s ongoing conflict with the PCAOB poses the risk of undue scrutiny by other regulators and unwanted publicity to all its clients.
I’m writing now for American Banker. My first column covers a new appointment at Deloitte and how this might affect the firm’s clients in the mutual funds industry.
Sarbanes-Oxley was supposed to end financial scandals once and for all. Will Dodd-Frank succeed where it failed? My OpEd for Boston Review is online today, Monday, August 22, 2011.
I was quoted on May 2 in an article in American Banker by Alex Ulam entitled, “Why Second-Lien Loans Remain A Worry”. My quote focused on disclosures and transparency – for the loans and the reserves for losses. It’s a subject I’ve written about extensively.
Mainstream media, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, are focused mainly on Ernst & Young as the auditor whipping boy of the financial crisis. That’s really by default not by design and is thinly justified. No one has given fly-over journalists anything on a silver platter that would draw in the rest. Give me a few minutes and I can make a case for PricewaterhouseCoopers as the one teetering on the edge of the abyss. Or KPMG. But today, let’s talk about Deloitte.
John Carney at CNBC NetNet is talking a lot about repurchase risk. He’s tied it all together in a bow for us, mentions Citigroup and Bank of America, and has given me credit for having been on KPMG’s case for a while.