BofA could pay at least $12 billion to settle probes
(Reuters) – Bank of America Corp could pay more than $12 billion to settle probes by the Justice Department and a number of states into the bank’s alleged handling of shoddy mortgages, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, citing people familiar with the negotiations.
At least $5 billion of that amount is expected to go toward consumer relief consisting of help for homeowners in reducing principal amounts and monthly payments, and paying for blight removal in struggling neighborhoods, the paper said, citing people with knowledge about the issue.
A BofA spokesman declined to comment on the issue. The department of justice wasn’t immediately available for comment. [http://link.reuters.com/rap89v]
FHFA considers G-fee increase
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Thursday that it will be seeking industry input on the guarantee fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders.
In January, FHFA Director Mel Watt reversed a proposed increase on the g-fee, originally announced in December by then-acting director Ed DeMarco.
Foreclosure lawyer appeals reprimand tied to ‘robo-signing’ cases
PORTLAND, Maine — A lawyer disciplined for not blowing the whistle loudly enough on his client’s “robo-signed” foreclosure documents is fighting the public reprimand he received from the Maine legal profession’s oversight board in April.
The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar had determined that Drummond & Drummond lawyer Paul Peck, who led the firm’s foreclosure division, did not “ take immediate and effective action” to stop foreclosure proceedings in 2010 that were based on faulty affidavits.
James Bowie, the attorney representing Peck in the appeal, said his client is contesting the factual basis for the board’s decision.
“The panel issued the lowest level of discipline that is available if they are going to issue discipline,” Bowie said in a telephone interview. “Despite that, we feel the factual findings don’t support the imposition of any discipline at all.”
Peck is seeking to have the reprimand dismissed in favor of a warning, which two of his colleagues received; the bar overseers are seeking to have the reprimand upheld and have Peck pay its legal fees.
Rakoff Likely To Seal Citigroup Deal After 2nd Circ. Rebuff
Law360, San Diego (June 04, 2014, 10:52 PM ET) — In the wake of a Second Circuit ruling rejecting his block of a Citigroup Inc. settlement with securities regulators for failing to include an admission or denial of wrongdoing, experts say U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff is likely to show greater deference to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to enter the deal and give it his blessing on remand.
Judge Rakoff in November 2011 refused to approve the SEC’s settlement with Citigroup over claims the bank bet heavily against a doomed $1 billion collateralized…
Rakoff Jokes 2nd Circ. Thinks He’s ‘Full Of It’
Law360, New York (June 04, 2014, 9:11 PM ET) — Near the end of a whirlwind day in which the Second Circuit publicly rebuked his decision to reject a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission settlement that lacked an admission of fault, Judge Jed Rakoff ambled to his bench for a sentencing hearing in a drug case and joked that the appeals court probably thought he was “full of it.”
Judge Rakoff slyly noted that the Second Circuit opinion, which lambasted his SEC decision as an “abuse of discretion,” also called him “very able and distinguished.”…
Obama Says He’ll Stay Out Of BNP Paribas Settlement Talks
Law360, New York (June 05, 2014, 12:17 PM ET) — President Barack Obama said Thursday that he would not intervene in a federal and local government probe of French bank BNP Paribas SA that could result in a $10 billion fine and guilty plea despite concerns France’s president raised about the potential penalties.
Speaking at a press conference following the G-7 summit in Brussels, Obama said that any decisions about prosecuting BNP would be made by the U.S. Department of Justice and federal and state regulators looking into alleged sanctions violations by the bank.
U.S. SEC chair plots major rules for high-speed traders, dark pools
The top U.S. securities regulator said on Thursday she is developing rules targeting high-speed traders, less transparent trading venues and order-routing practices, a move designed to promote fairness for investors, shine more light on the markets and bolster stability.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White’s ambitious proposals, unveiled in a speech in New York City, mark the first time she has articulated her plan for revamping equity market structure rules since she took over at the SEC in the spring of 2013.
It also marks one of the most ambitious equity market regulatory agendas since at least 2010, when the SEC rushed to install reforms to prevent a repeat of the “flash crash.”
White said she has numerous proposals in the works, including an “anti-disruptive trading” rule to rein in aggressive short-term trading by high-frequency traders during vulnerable market conditions, and a plan to force more proprietary trading shops to register with regulators and open their books for inspection.
She also said her staff is working on measures to improve how trading firms manage risks around their use of computer algorithms.