Everyone knew that the foreclosure fraud crisis was going to spawn a festival of lawsuits, and now it looks like it is already beginning. The New York Federal Reserve Bank is part of a consortium of eight large institutional investment firms that has launched an effort to force Bank of America to repurchase $47 billion worth of mortgages packaged into bonds by its Countrywide Financial unit. It turns out that most mortgage bond contracts explicitly require the repurchase of loans when the quality of the loans falls short of promises made by the sellers. As most of us know by now, many of these mortgages that were packaged together into "AAA rated" securities were actually a bunch of junk. But this is just the beginning. There are going to be hordes of lawsuits stemming from this crisis and it is going to take years and years for this thing to work through the legal system.
All of the big players in the U.S. mortgage industry are going to be paralyzed for an extended period of time by this crisis, and that means that buying a home and achieving the American Dream is going to become a lot harder for millions of Americans. Not only that, if mortgage lending institutions end up being forced to take back gigantic mountains of bad mortgages it could end up sinking a whole lot of them. The implications for the U.S. financial system would be staggering.
Pacific Investment Management Co., BlackRock Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are seeking to force Bank of America Corp. to repurchase soured mortgages packaged into $47 billion of bonds by its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit, people familiar with the matter said.
A group of bondholders wrote a letter to Bank of America and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the debt’s trustee, citing alleged failures by Countrywide to service loans properly, their lawyer said yesterday in a statement that didn’t name the firms. The New York Fed acquired mortgage debt through its 2008 rescues of Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc.
Investors are stepping up efforts to recoup losses on mortgage bonds, which plummeted in value amid the worst slump in home prices since the 1930s. Last month, BNY Mellon declined to investigate mortgage files in response to a demand from the bondholder group, which has since expanded. Countrywide’s servicing failures, including insufficient record keeping, may open the door for investors to seek repurchases by bypassing the trustee, said Kathy Patrick, their lawyer at Gibbs & Bruns LLP.
Patrick represents investors who own at least 25 percent of so-called voting rights in the deals and stand to recover “many billions of dollars,” Patrick said.
Countrywide hasn’t met its contractual obligations as a servicer also because it hasn’t asked for loan repurchases and is taking too long with foreclosures, Patrick said. The delays stem from missing documents, process mistakes and insufficient staffing to evaluate borrowers for loan modifications, she said.
If Countrywide doesn’t correct the servicing problems within a few months, her clients could have the right to pursue legal action against Bank of America, Bank of New York or both, she said. “None of the bondholders are opposed to modifications for deserving borrowers, but you’ve got to get it done” in a timely fashion, she added.
Mortgage-bond contracts are explicit in requiring repurchases of loans when their
So let me make sure I have this right because Lord knows I’ve been drinking more than usual lately. Feinberg spent months putting together this report only to discover 17 firms had paid out $1.8 billion in questionable bonuses but then comes out and says he’s not going to do anything about it.
U.S. "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg on Friday declined to request 17 financial firms that doled out $1.6 billion in "ill advised" executive compensation to return the excessive payouts, saying to do so would be unfair to the companies and could trigger private lawsuits and additional Congressional investigation.
Mr. Feinberg released a report that found 17 firms—including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc.—made the bonus-like payouts to top executives in late 2008 and early 2009 even as the companies were receiving taxpayer assistance.
Mr. Feinberg, the Obama administration’s special master for compensation, said he deemed these payments as "ill advised" both for the sheer amount—some individual payouts exceed $10 million, he said—and the lack of reasonable rationale for their payment.
Other firms Mr. Feinberg criticized for poor judgment included: American Express Co., American International Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Boston Private Financial Holdings Inc., Capital One Financial Corp., CIT Group Inc., M&T Bank Corp., Regions Financial Corp., Sun Trust Banks Inc., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Morgan Stanley, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co.
"Lack of reasonable rationale" hahahahaha. Maybe we should charge Obama with that for giving this guy a fake job patrolling payouts in the first place.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s plan to rebuild its reserves may cost Bank of America Corp. and three of the largest U.S. banks more than $10 billion.
Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender by deposits, may owe $3.5 billion under an FDIC proposal that banks prepay three years of premiums, based on the lowest assessment rate multiplied by the bank’s $900 billion in June 30 U.S. deposits.
“This seems like a very hefty amount,” said Tim Yeager, a finance professor at the University of Arkansas and former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “The FDIC’s projections of future losses are pretty severe, and they are trying everything they can to avoid tapping the Treasury.”
U.S. bank premiums range from 12 cents per $100 in deposits for the safest lenders to 45 cents for banks the U.S. considers risky, said Chris Cole, senior regulatory counsel for the Independent Community Bankers of America. The FDIC yesterday proposed asking banks to pay premiums for the fourth quarter and next three years on Dec. 30. The fees will raise $45 billion.
Based on the current assessment and each bank’s deposits, Wells Fargo & Co.’s fee may be $3.2 billion based on its $814 billion in deposits, JPMorgan Chase & Co. may pay $2.4 billion and Citigroup Inc. $1.2 billion. The estimates exclude the FDIC’s plan to boost the assessment rate by 3 cents per $100 in deposits in 2011 or the agency’s assumption that bank deposits will increase by 5 percent annually.
In a post called "Break Up the Big Banks", Rolfe Winkler provides a nice graphic showing that the too big to fails have gotten bigger:
The big have gotten even bigger since the start of the financial crisis. At the end of 2007, the Big Four banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — held 32 percent of all deposits in FDIC-insured institutions. As of June 30th, it was 39 percent.
In total, they had $3.8 trillion worth of deposits as of June 30th. Compare that figure to the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund, which showed a balance of just $10.4. billion on the same date.
A federal judge on Monday rejected a $33 million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of America Corp., saying the SEC’s accusations of inadequate disclosure by the bank over bonuses paid at Merrill Lynch must now go to trial.
The SEC announced last month that it had settled its civil charges against BofA, which agreed to buy the New York investment bank last year, without the bank admitting or denying guilt in the case. BofA has said it didn’t violate disclosure rules.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff held up his approval of the settlement, however, and ordered the SEC last month to explain why it didn’t pursue charges against specific executives at Bank of America over the accusations.
After receiving additional statements from the SEC and BofA last week, Rakoff ruled Monday that the proposed $33 million settlement "cannot remotely be called fair," and ordered that the case go to trial beginning Feb. 1.
Rakoff, in his ruling, found that the proposed settlement "suggests a rather cynical relationship between the parties: the SEC gets to claim that it is exposing wrongdoing on the part of the Bank of America in a high-profile merger, the bank’s management gets to claim that they have been coerced into an onerous settlement by overzealous regulators. And all this is done at the expense, not only of the shareholders, but also of the truth."
The New York Attorney General’s office is preparing charges against several high-ranking Bank of America executives over the bank’s alleged failure to disclose details about its acquisition of Merrill Lynch, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office is likely to file civil charges against the executives over their role in failing to alert shareholders to mounting losses as well as accelerated bonus payments at Merrill, said the person, who requested anonymity because no charges have been filed yet.
One of the most evident characteristics of the recent 50% stock rally has been short squeezes. Skepticism regarding the quality of the rally kept the shorts confident that stocks would retrench. And day after day we got short squeezes in the banks that generated market rallies. As summer rolled around the trend appeared to die and the financials went through a 3 month lull. That has all changed in the last 4 weeks, however, as 5 (mostly meaningless) stocks dominate NYSE trading. BofA, Citi, Fannie, Freddie and AIG have accounted for more than 30% of NYSE volume in the last month and are again generating overall stock market optimism today as all 5 stocks rally on no news or news that is totally irrelevant to the rest of the market. Will the shorts ever learn their lesson?
Are you supplementing with vitamin D? I have been; my levels are consistently low. In Who Should—And Who Shouldn’t—Take Vitamin D, Alice Park suggests that supplementing with more than 600 IUs is too much. Her argument makes sense: there isn't enough data to understand the effects of vitamin D (or specifically, trying to increase blood levels vitamin D) and the dangers of over-dosing are not clear. Not addressed, was the question of whether some people should take more D to make up for lack of sun exposure.
Here's what experts say, based on the latest evidence...
If, as one claims, one is innocent of i) using a personal email account to send out confidential information and/or to take advantage of one's political position to abuse opponents and ii) deleting said confidential emails against government regulations, what would one do when faced with a government subpoena demand? If one is the IRS' Lois Lerner, one would claim, against subsequently revealed facts, that a hardware error led to a permanent loss of all demanded emails, even though by email protocol definition, said emails are always stored on at least one off-site server. Or, if one is Hillary Clinton, one would just format the entire server.
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
Friday was a mixed bag of economic data. Hopes for an upward revision to Third Estimate of Q4 GDP were disappointed when the BEA left the annualized rate at 2.2%. The final Michigan Consumer Sentiment for March was an improvement on the preliminary reading, but it was below the February final and well off the January 11-year high. The S&P 500 spent the day in a narrow range, ending with a modest 0.24% gain, which snapped a four-day selloff. The index was down 2.33% for the week, its second worst weekly performance of 2015 (the worst being the -2.77% plunge in late January).
The yield on the 10-year Note fell 7 bps to 1.95%.
Well, it didn’t take long for the bulls to jump on their buying opportunity, with a little help from the bulls’ friend in the Fed. In fact, despite huge daily swings in the market averages driven by daily news regarding timing of interest rate hikes, the strength in the dollar, and oil prices, trading actually has been quite rational, honoring technical formations and support levels and dutifully selling overbought conditions and buying when oversold. Yes, the tried and true investing clichés continue to work -- “Don’t fight the Fed,” and “The trend is your friend.”
In this weekly update, I give my view of the cur...
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While I'm not going to argue the point about the possibility that Bitcoin drops to $1, or less, (that could happen yet, but not for the reasons you propose) I felt it necessary to point out something you seem to have overlooked.
While it's likely that the US government watching Bitco...
Bullish trades abound in Cypress Semiconductor options today, most notably a massive bull call spread initiated in the July expiry contracts. One strategist appears to have purchased 30,000 of the Jul 16.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.89 each and sold the same number of Jul 19.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.22 apiece. Net premium paid to put on the spread amounts to $0.67 per contract, thus establishing a breakeven share price of $16.67 on the trade. Cypress shares reached a 52-week high of $16.25 back on Friday, March 13th, and would need to rally 4.6% over the current level to exceed the breakeven point of $16.25. The spread generates maximum potential profits of $2.33 per contract in the event that CY shares surge more than 20% in the next four months to reach $19.00 by July expiration. Shar...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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