Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: News And Politics... |

Updated:  Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:50 AM…
This story isn’t getting the exposure it should.  Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank that received $1.6 billion in bailout money just spent a fortune last week in Los Angeles hosting a series of lavish parties and concerts with famous singers.  They have the audacity to defend their actions by saying taxpayers’ money wasn’t used to fund these events.  Please!  In a perfect world, they’d be telling this to a judge who would hold them accountable by demanding that they pay back every dime they received from us.  Northern Trust laid off 450 workers in December (4% of its workforce).  The irony of this story is that the government gave Northern Trust $1.6 billion in bailout money, and the bank didn’t even request it!  Do you think it’s because Obama is from Chicago and he’s giving a helping hand to some of his old cronies?  Giving out money to Northern Trust just cements my mistrust in Obama.
After the PGA party story (below), I included a story that just came out yesterday about how Northern Trust mortgages have "slowed".  Too bad their spending hasn’t slowed as well.  Why can’t they live within their means like the rest of us have to?  Oh yeah, that’s right…They’re in Obama’s pocket where he keeps his stimulus money…
The evidence is mounting that Obama is rewarding his corrupt supporters…Isn’t anyone listening???

Bailout Bank Blows Millions Partying in L.A.

Posted Feb 24th 2009 12:30AM by TMZ Staff

Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, sponsored the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in L.A. We’re told Northern Trust paid millions to sponsor the PGA event which ended Sunday, but what happened off the golf course is even more shocking.

Northern Trust flew hundreds of clients and employees to L.A. and put many of them up at some of the fanciest and priciest hotels in the city. We’re told more than a hundred people were put up at the Beverly Wilshire in Bev Hills, and another hundred stayed at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Still more stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey and others at Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica.

Here are the highlights:

– Wednesday, Northern Trust hosted a fancy dinner at the Ritz followed by a performance by the group Chicago.

– Thursday, Northern Trust rented a private hangar at the Santa Monica Airport for dinner, followed by a performance by Earth, Wind & Fire.

– Saturday, Northern Trust had the entire House of Blues in West Hollywood shut down for its private party. We got the menu — guests dined on seared salmon and petite Angus filet. Dinner was followed by a performance by none other than Sheryl Crow.

There was also a fabulous cocktail party at the Loews. And how’s this for a nice touch — female guests at the Chicago concert all got trinkets from….TIFFANY AND CO.

As for what all that costs, well the company isn’t talking. We spoke with a rep from the band Chicago who said Northern Trust paid them around $100,000. A House of Blues source told us it cost more than $50,000 to close the joint down last Saturday night. As for Sheryl Crow’s fee, her rep didn’t get back to us. Earth, Wind & Fire acknowledges payment but won’t say how much.

As for the golf tournament, a rep from the PGA told us Northern Trust wrote one big fat check in order to sponsor the event. That check covers part of the $6.3 million purse, the advertising costs for the spots on CBS (which broadcast the final two rounds of the tournament) and operating costs. The rep says the fee was negotiated and is confidential.

Lots of people from Northern Trust went to the golf tourney … in special Mercedes that shuttled them to and from the hotels. But for those who weren’t into golfing, they could spend a few hours at the Northern Trust seminar on the credit crunch.

Now how’s this for outrage? Northern Trust laid off 450 workers in December, 4% of its workforce.

Here’s what’s absolutely amazing — the United States Government flat out gave Northern Trust the $1.6 billion in bailout money, and the bank didn’t even request it!

Northern Trust gave us a statement yesterday before going total radio silence. A rep for the bank acknowledges they paid for the events, but that the bailout money did not pay for the events. He claims it was paid out of the bank’s operating expenses. Here’s Northern Trust’s full statement to us.

Perhaps we’re missing something, but money is money. How can they spend like this when they’re using taxpayer’s money, whether they asked for it or not? And where the hell is Congress in all of this? Is there any oversight or accountability?

Your tax dollars, hard at work. Thomas Jefferson was right — "A little rebellion now and then is a good thing."

It’ll be interesting to see how Northern Trust’s PGA extravaganza plays out with Congress because in October of last year, Northern Trust held its first "Wealth in Black America" Survey.  Then a month later, the Treasury invests about $1.5 billion in Northern preferred shares (complete story follows).  Hmmm…According to the PR Newswire in Chicago:  Young affluent Blacks are more worried about wealth preservation than their older counterparts, according to "Wealth in Black America," Northern Trust’s first annual survey of affluent Black households in the United States, including African-Americans and Blacks of other origins. Three in four Generations X & Y wealthy respondents (ages 18-42) said they are concerned about preserving their wealth, while less than half of respondents in the Boomer and Silent Generations (ages 43 and above) shared this concern.  How is Northern Trust going to help blacks preserve their wealth when they can’t even preserve their own?  They’re actually teaching blacks that irresponsibility has its rewards.  Here’s the complete story on that piece:


Mortgage lending slows at Northern Trust
By Becky Yerak
Tribune staff reporter
2:33 PM CST, February 23, 2009

Northern Trust Corp. continues to make new consumer mortgages, but the pace of residential loan originations at the Chicago-based institution has slowed in recent months, according to the first monthly survey released by the U.S. Treasury into lending trends at the 20 biggest recipients of government funds.

Northern originated $66 million in first mortgages in December, down from $85 million in November and $89 million in October, according to the government report.

The snapshot, released last week, is the first survey of the top 20 recipients of government investment through the Troubled Asset Relief Program’s Capital Purchase Program. The program involves the government injecting capital into banks through the purchase of preferred shares. In November, the Treasury invested about $1.5 billion in Northern preferred shares.

The bank, which caters to the wealthy, also noted that it has "established a homeownership retention program" so stressed-out borrowers have a better chance to "stay in their homes."

Meanwhile, new commitments for commercial and industrial loans were $992 million in December. That’s up from $535 million in November, but down from $1.18 billion in October.

Northern’s C&I renewals were $287 million in December, down from $512 million in November and up slightly from $283 million in October.

"Northern Trust is using CPP funds to support the strong capital levels that our personal and institutional clients expect," a Northern spokesman said. Northern clients include non-profit foundations, college and university endowments, and retirement plans for corporations, unions, and local, state and national governmental agencies.

"The CPP capital is also supporting high-quality loan growth, benefiting clients and institutions," the spokesman said.

The 20 biggest recipients of TARP funds made a total of $53.66 billion of first mortgages in December, up from $45.6 billion in November but down from $63.3 billion in October, according to data tracker SNL Financial.

New C&I commitments by the 20 big banks totaled $62.15 billion in December, up from $57.34 billion in November but down from $66.76 billion in October.

The Treasury’s report "illustrates that banks are still lending — contrary to the popular line that banks have not been lending — and have been using the TARP preferred equity to help with their banking activities in the communities they serve," JP O’Sullivan, senior product manager for SNL Financial, told the Tribune. "What’s interesting to note is that for most banks, lending and other activities significantly contracted in November due to the severe tightening of credit markets and other conditions," but lending picked up again in December due, in some part, to reduced mortgage rates and an easing in the credit markets.

Northern pointed out in its report that it has seen a "substantive increase in mortgage applications, mainly consisting of the refinance of existing mortgages," but the downturn in the real estate market and appraisal values are making it more difficult for applicants to qualify, Northern said in its submission to Treasury.

Northern also noted that its residential real estate loans totaled $10.4 billion as of Dec, 31, a 13 percent increase over the year-ago period and a 4 percent increase from Sept. 30.

As of Dec. 31, all of Northern’s loans and leases totaled $30.8 billion, a 21 percent increase from Dec. 31, 2007 and a 3 percent rise from Sept. 30, according to the government report.

As part of its homeownership retention program, a Northern committee will review all delinquent home mortgages to avoid foreclosures.

But less than a quarter of one percent of the total number of mortgage loans outstanding are in foreclosure, Northern said.

Under TARP, participating banks pay the Treasury a 5 percent dividend on senior preferred shares for the first five years following the investment and a rate of nine percent a year thereafter. Banks may repay Treasury under the conditions established in the purchase agreements.

Currently, Northern Trust pays the government $78.8 million on an annual basis as a return on taxpayers’ investment, or $19.7 million a quarter, a Northern spokesman said.




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