Diary

Maxine Waters (D-CA) Helped a bank whose stock she owned. Oh – and her husband was on the board of directors

www.thepoliticalclass.com

Maxine Waters (D-CA) Helped a bank whose stock she owned. Oh – and her husband was on the board of directors

maxine waters impeach 2

The Wall Street Journal reports that Maxine Waters,pictured above demanding accountability, had close ties to a bank that received TARP money. Full story here.

WASHINGTON — When Rep. Barney Frank was looking to aid a Boston-based lender last fall, the Massachusetts Democrat urged Maxine Waters, a colleague on the House Financial Services Committee, to “stay out of it,” he says.

The reason: Ms. Waters, a longtime congresswoman from California, had close ties to the minority-owned institution, OneUnited Bank.

Ms. Waters and her husband have both held financial stakes in the bank. Until recently, her husband was a director.

At the same time, Ms. Waters has publicly boosted OneUnited’s executives and criticized its government regulators during congressional hearings. Last fall, she helped secure the bank a meeting with Treasury officials.

Her involvement isn’t new. Ms. Waters has detailed her financial ties in a series of federal disclosure forms and has been vocal in public in support of the bank. Those ties, however, have received little public attention. Nor is it well known how the influential lawmaker has over the years acted to support the bank and its executives.

Such potential conflicts of interest are more serious as the banking system’s crisis has led the government to take an increasingly active role in overseeing financial institutions, including OneUnited. The financial-services committee on which Ms. Waters sits oversees banking issues, and the lawmaker is a potential future chairman.

And of course it’s Democrats we’re talking about so race is always involved. Forget good management, accountability or a solid business model.

At a hearing on minority lending in 2007, Ms. Waters criticized regulators for not doing enough to help minority banks stave off mergers with non-minority institutions. The lawmaker said she had contacted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2002 over such concerns and “I was told that there was nothing that could be done.”

In her 2007 remarks, Ms. Waters alluded to two banks, Independence Bank of Washington, D.C., and “another bank that was about to be acquired by a major white bank out of Illinois.”

Ms. Waters didn’t mention that OneUnited had been an unsuccessful suitor of Independence, which had been taken over several years earlier. The second bank, which she didn’t name, appears to have been Family Savings Bank of Los Angeles. In 2002, that bank backed out of a merger agreement with FBOP Bank of Oak Brook, Ill., and shortly afterward was acquired by OneUnited.

News reports at the time credited the intervention of Ms. Waters and others for Family Savings’s change of heart.

At the hearing, Ms. Waters praised OneUnited’s senior counsel, Robert P. Cooper, as “typical of the young, brilliant minds that have been amassed at OneUnited Bank.”

Was this bank involved heavily with the Community Reinvestment Act?

OneUnited’s minority-lending record is mixed. The bank received “outstanding” Community Reinvestment Act ratings for lending in Los Angeles. It has weak ratings in Massachusetts and failed to meet minimum standards in Florida.

So I guess accountability is good for others but not for her or the banks in which she owns stock.

www.thepoliticalclass.com