On Swiss Chocolate and Bad Performance Reviews

May 20, 2014 at 8:29 am 1 comment

The Swiss are known for many things.  For my money, they make the best chocolate in the world and, as people have known for generations or at least after reading The Davinci Code, Switzerland is where you put your money when you don’t want anyone else to know about it.  Not anymore.

Yesterday, Credit Suisse copped a plea.  It admitted to systematically making illegal efforts to help wealthy citizens avoid paying U.S. taxes  Credit Suisse’s sins included assisting clients in using sham entities to hide undeclared accounts; soliciting IRS forms that falsely stated that sham entities were the beneficial owners of these accounts; destroying account records sent to the United States; and structuring transferred funds to evade CTR reporting requirements.

In announcing the deal, Attorney General Eric Holder called it “a major step in our ongoing effort to protect the American people from financial misconduct — and to hold accountable any individual, bank or other institution that violates our laws and abuses the public trust.”  Now for my commentary:

I wonder if the Attorney General really believes what he said?  The fact is that the financial crisis has been ongoing since 2008 and it has taken the Justice Department, filled with some of the brightest, most aggressive legal minds in America, six years to get one bank to plead guilty to a criminal offense in relation to issues that have nothing to do with the underlying banking issues that triggered the Great Recession.  If you think I am being cynical, then ask yourself if your credit union admitted to any of the offenses to which Credit Suisse is to plead guilty would it be in business today or would you be looking for a defense attorney?

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The CFPB is conceding that its employment practices may have had a disparate impact on its minority employees.  Yesterday, the CFPB announced that it will no longer be using a five point scale to grade employees.  Why?  Because an analysis conducted by the agency indicated that more than 20% of White employees received the highest possible ranking last year compared with 9% of Hispanics, 10.5% of African-Americans and 15.5% of Asians.  The Wall Street Journal quotes Director Richard Cordray announcing “we have determined that there were broad-based disparities in the way performance ratings were assigned across our employee base.”  The CFPB’s employment practices are sure to get a lot of attention at a Congressional hearing later this week.

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Last but not least, every so often when I am reading up on the economy, I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from The Doors, “I’ve been down so ever damn long that it looks like up to me.”  Later today, a report will be released indicating that nearly 10 million U.S. households remain underwater on their mortgages and another 10 million households have so little equity in their house that they can’t meet the expenses of selling a home.  To be sure, this represents a dramatic improvement from the 31% of Americans whose homes were underwater in 2012, but the fact that 18.8% of U.S. mortgages are underwater shows that while there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, many Americans aren’t there yet.

Entry filed under: Economy, General, HR, Legal Watch. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Penny Stock Market  |  September 15, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    What’s up Dear, are you really visiting this site on a regular basis, if so after that you will definitely get fastidious know-how.


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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association.

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