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Sunday, September 4, 2011

U.S. Sues Big Banks for Mortgage Losses (Video) *Negligent misrepresentations, fraud, improper acts*

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Federal Housing Finance Agency


The Plaintiffs The Federal Housing Finance Agency, as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced September 2, 2011 the filing of lawsuits against 17 financial institutions, certain of their officers, and various unaffiliated lead underwriters. The suits allege violations of  federal securities laws and common law in the sale of residential private-label mortgage-backed securities (PLS) to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While no specific amounts, or the ultimate possible settlement amounts, can be determined at this point, the total could reportedly exceed $20 billion. This is the minimum settlement amount being discussed by collective state attorney generals and banks.

The Defendants Complaints have been filed against the following lead defendants, in alphabetical order:
1. Ally Financial Inc. f/k/a GMAC, LLC
2. Bank of America Corporation
3. Barclays Bank PLC
4. Citigroup, Inc.
5. Countrywide Financial Corporation
6. Credit Suisse Holdings (USA), Inc.
7. Deutsche Bank AG
8. First Horizon National Corporation
9. General Electric Company
10. Goldman Sachs & Co.
11. HSBC North America Holdings, Inc.
12. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
13. Merrill Lynch & Co. / First Franklin Financial Corp.
14. Morgan Stanley
15. Nomura Holding America Inc.
16. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC
17. Société Générale

The Complaints The lawsuits were filed in federal or state court in New York or the federal court in Connecticut. The complaints seek damages and civil penalties under the Securities Act of 1933, similar in content to the complaint FHFA filed against UBS Americas, Inc. on July 27, 2011. In addition, each complaint seeks compensatory damages for negligent misrepresentation. Certain complaints also allege state securities law violations or common law fraud. As conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHFA is charged with preserving and conserving these companies’ assets and does so on behalf of taxpayers. The complaints filed  today reflect FHFA’s conclusion that some portion of the losses that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac incurred on private-label mortgage-backed securities (PLS) are attributable to misrepresentations and other improper actions by the firms and individuals named in these filings. Based on our review, FHFA alleges that the loans had different and more risky characteristics than the descriptions contained in the marketing and sales materials provided to the Enterprises for those securities. FHFA filed the complaints under the broad authority granted to it by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The U.S. legal system provides for addressing such alleged misrepresentations through the nation’s securities laws and traditional common law. FHFA is following those legal remedies in filing these complaints and seeks to recover on losses to the Enterprises that are the legal responsibilities of others.

FHFA Sues 17 Banks Over Losses in Securities A U.S. regulator sued a number of major banks Friday over losses on more than $41 billion in subprime mortgage bonds, which may hamper a broader government mortgage settlement with banks. The lawsuits by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, came as a surprise to the market and weighed on bank shares. The lawsuits could add billions of dollars to the banks' potential costs at perhaps the worst possible time for the industry.




About the FHFA
Mission: Provide effective supervision, regulation and housing mission oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks to promote their safety and soundness, support housing finance and affordable housing, and support a stable and liquid mortgage market.


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