Banks Reach Settlements on Mortgages
Bank of America agreed on Monday to pay more than $10 billion to Fannie Mae to settle claims over troubled mortgages that soured during the housing crash, mostly loans issued by the bank’s Countrywide Financial subsidiary.
Separately, federal regulators reached an $8.5 billion settlement on Monday to resolve claims of foreclosure abuses that included flawed paperwork used in foreclosures and bungled loan modifications by 10 major lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citibank. About $3.3 billion of that settlement amount will go toward Americans who went through foreclosure in 2009 and 2010, while $5.2 billion will address other assistance to troubled borrowers, including loan modifications and reductions of principal balances. Eligible homeowners could get up to $125,000 in compensation.
The two agreements are not directly related, but they illustrate the extent of the banks’ role in the excesses of the credit boom, from the making of loans to the seizure of homes.
Under the terms of the Bank of America deal, the bank will pay Fannie Mae $3.6 billion and will also spend $6.75 billion to buy back mortgages from the housing finance giant.
The settlement will resolve all of the lender’s disputes with Fannie Mae, removing a major impediment to Bank of America’s rehabilitation. The bank had settled its fight with Freddie Mac, the other government-owned mortgage giant, in 2011.
Both Fannie and Freddie, which have posted billions of dollars in losses in recent years, have argued that Countrywide misrepresented the quality of home loans that it sold to the two entities at the height of the mortgage bubble. Bank of America assumed those troubles when it bought Countrywide in 2008.