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?
Chinese stocks are trading lower again (on margin crackdowns) - the first 3-day drop in 3 weeks - back into the red year-to-date. Despite weakening the fix this evening, the 'market price' for USDCNY is trading at a record 1.93% discount to the official rate - inching ever closer to the 2% peg limit. At 6.2522, the market is just 40 pips away from forcing policy makes to intervene (selling the USD and and buying Yuan) - which realistically is perhaps a positive for the Chinese to unload some USD reserves. This move comes as China’s currency overtook Canada’s dollar to rank fifth for global payments last month with a record market s...
Suppose you had the technical ability and raw materials to print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Assume you could spend them as fast as you could create them with no fear of any repercussions.
Would you prudently print up only as much fresh currency as you needed for your current lifestyle? Would you create just a bit more than that to help relatives or those in need?
It is most likely you’d have your printing press running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Becoming the richest person in the world would confer great power upon you.
You could rationalize this action because you plan to use the money for good purposes. Imagine the warm feeling you’d get by giving every person in America one million do...
U.S tight oil production from shale plays will fall more quickly than most assume.
Why? High decline rates from shale reservoirs is given. The more interesting reasons are the compounding effects of pad drilling on rig count and poorer average well performance with time.
Rig productivity has increased but average well productivity has decreased. Every rig used in pad drilling has approximately three times the impact on the daily production rate as a rig did before pad drilling. At the same time, average well productivity has decreased by about one-third.
This means that production rates will fall at a much higher rate today than during previous periods of falling rig counts.
Most shale wells today are drilled from pads. One rig drills many wells...
Today's end-of-day losses were disguised by the relatively light declines at the close. Markets opened strong, but were unable to maintain premarket strength. The consolidations in place since the 'Santa Rally' are holding on, but markets can ill afford additional losses from here.
The S&P finished on the 38.2% Fib retracement of the 'Santa Rally'. Aggressive longs may view this as a head-and-shoulder reversal; if this pr-oves to be the case then markets have to rally from the cash open. The S&P is a case in point.
The Nasdaq experienced a very wide day; opening above its 20-day and 50-day MA, but finishing well below these moving averages, and on...
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Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart...
So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.
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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...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
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 email@example.com 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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