NY AG probes BofA over MBS
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating Bank of America ($12.18 -0.05%) over the purchase, securitization and underwriting of mortgage-backed securities.
The bank said it was cooperating with the investigation, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
In its annual report filing with the SEC, the banking giant said it could sustain up to $3.1 billion in legal losses.
Merrill Sued for $309 Million by Trust Over Mortgages
A unit of Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch was sued by a trust seeking more than $309 million in damages for alleged breaches of representations and warranties made in connection with the sale of more than 5,000 mortgage loans.
The trust filed the suit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan today, accusing Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending of failing to buy back loans as required by agreements reached in 2007, according to a court filing.
The trust also accused Merrill Lynch and H&R Block Inc. (HRB)’s Sand Canyon unit of breaching similar representations and warranties made about other mortgage loans. Sand Canyon, formerly known as Option One Mortgage Corp., stopped originating mortgage loans in December 2007, sold its servicing assets to American Home Mortgage Servicing, and discontinued remaining operations in April 2008.
Banks Win Dismissal of Substantial Portion of Libor Suits
Banks including Bank of America (BAC), Barclays and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) won dismissal of antitrust claims in lawsuits alleging they rigged the London interbank offered rate.
More than two dozen interrelated lawsuits are before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in New York alleging the banks conspired to depress Libor by understating their borrowing costs, thereby lowering their interest expenses on products tied to the rates. Potential damages were estimated to be in the billions of dollars.
Buchwald on Friday issued a 161-page ruling dismissing antitrust allegations against the banks while allowing some commodities-manipulations claims to proceed to a trial.
“We recognize that it might be unexpected that we are dismissing a substantial portion of plaintiffs’ claims, given that several of the defendants here have already paid penalties to government regulatory agencies reaching into the billions of dollars,” Buchwald wrote. “There are many requirements that private plaintiffs must satisfy but which government agencies need not.”
California AG beefs up legal task force for foreclosure cases
California’s top lawyer is constructing a legal task force to handle cases that could surface under the state’s new Homeowner Bill of Rights.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris said the HBOR program issued a $1 million grant to the The National Housing Law Project. The funds will support a powerhouse team of lawyers to investigate and potentially prosecute cases under the homeowner-focused legislation.
The California HBOR became law on Jan. 1 and is known in the servicing industry as legislation that creates a private right of action for borrowers when certain foreclosure violations are alleged. It also codified dozens of legal risks for servicers who utilize the nonjudicial foreclosure process.