Articles Tagged with Freddie Mac

This week, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) has agreed to pay the Federal Housing Finance Agency $5.5B to resolve the latter’s investigation into the UK government-controlled bank’s sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities to mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. RBS has come under fire for the way it packaged and sold subprime mortgages. The violations allegedly involved private-label residential mortgage-backed securities (PLS) trusts that were purchased between 2005 and 2007.

RBS will pay Freddie Mac about $4.5B and approximately $975M to Fannie Mae to resolve this RMBS fraud case. However, the bank is eligible for a $754M reimbursement according to certain indemnification agreements.

RBS had previously reached, for $1.1B, separate settlements over similar MBS fraud claims that the US National Credit Union Administration had brought in Kansas and California. It remains under investigation by the US Department of Justice and several US agencies who are conducting their own mortgage-backed securities fraud probes.

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Nomura Holdings (NMR), one of 18 financial institutions (including Goldman Sachs (GS), Deutsche Bank (DB), Bank of America (BAC), and J.P. Morgan (JPM)) that was sued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency for allegedly misleading Freddie Mac (FMCC) and Fannie Mae (FNMA) about the risks of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the financial crisis, is getting ready to go to court next week after refusing to settle with the government. The Japanese bank contends that not only did the two mortgage giants go looking for mortgage pools, but also they sought to make sure that certain of these mortgages would allow them to meet the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s affordable housing goals.

According to Nomura’s legal team, when choosing the loans as part of the loan groups that would support the tranches they planned on buying, Fannie and Freddie “carefully analyzed loan-level data” to make sure that the loan pools behind their certificates contained “as many goal-qualifying loans as possible.” This would suggest that while a lot of investors were trying to avoid risky loans to individuals that had low credit scores, Freddie and Fannie were doing the opposite by looking for high risk loans while making money with fat interest-rate yields—meaning they knew the risks they were taking on.

In other Nomura-related news, one of its ex-traders, Matthew Katke, has entered a guilty plea for conspiracy to commit securities fraud following a federal indictment against him. Katke traded in collateralized loan obligations and misled customers.

A judge in US bankruptcy court has approved the $767 million mortgage securities settlement reached between Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Freddie Mac (FMCC). The deal involves a $1.2 billion claim over two loans made by the mortgage giant to Lehman prior to its collapse in 2008.

As part of the accord, Freddie will provide loan data to the failed investment bank so that Lehman can go after mortgage originators over alleged misrepresentations. Lehman will pay the $767 million in a one-time transaction.

Its bankruptcy was a main trigger to the 2008 global economic crisis. According to Matthew Cantor, chief general counsel of the unwinding estate, the bank has already paid creditors $60 billion, with more payouts.

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) has arrived at a $591 million mortgage settlement with Fannie Mae (FNMA). The arrangement resolves claims that the banking institution sold faulty mortgages to the government run-home loan financier and covers loans that Wells Fargo originated more than four years ago.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FMCC) were taken over by the US government five years ago as they stood poised to fail due to faulty loans they bought from Wells Fargo and other banks. The two mortgage companies had bundled the mortgages with securities.

With this deal, Wells Fargo will pay $541 million in cash to Fannie Mae while the rest will be taken care of in credits from previous buy backs.

It was just a couple of months ago that Wells Fargo settled its disputes over faulty loans it sold to Freddie Mac with an $869 million mortgage buyback deal. According to Compass Point Research and Trading LLC, between 2005 and 2008, Wells Fargo sold $345 billion of mortgages to Freddie Mac. Compass says the bank sold another $126 billion to Freddie in 2009.

Also settling with Freddie Mac today is Flagstar Bank (FBC) for $10.8M over loans it sold to the mortgage company between 2000 and 2008. That agreement comes following Flagstar and Fannie Mae settling mortgage claims for $93 million over loans the former sold to the latter between January 2000 and December 31, 2008.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been trying to get banks to repurchase these trouble loans for some time now. In light of this latest settlement with Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae has reached settlements of about $6.5 billion over loan buy backs, including a $3.6 billion deal with Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Countrywide Financial Corp. and $968 million with Citigroup (C). Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank (DB) consented to pay $1.9 billion to the Federal Housing Finance Agency over claims that it misled Freddie and Fannie about the mortgage backed securities that the latter two purchased from the bank.

Wells Fargo agrees to $541 million loan settlement, Reuters, December 30, 2013

Flagstar settles with Fannie Mae on mortgage loans, Detroit Free Press, November 7, 2013

Wells Fargo in $869 Million Settlement With Freddie Mac, Bloomberg News, October 1, 2013

More Blog Posts:
FINRA Arbitration Panel Says Wells Fargo Must Repurchase $94M of Auction-Rate Securities from Investors, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, December 29, 2013

Credit Suisse Must Face ARS Lawsuit Over Subsidiary Brokerage’s Alleged Misconduct, Says District Court, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, January 11, 2013

RBS Securities Inc. Settles SEC’s Subprime RMBS Lawsuit for $150M, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, November 20, 2013

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JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is suing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for over $1 billion dollars related to the bank’s purchase of Washington Mutual (WMIH). The financial firm said that the FDIC did not honor its duties per the purchase agreement.

When Washington Mutual suffered the biggest bank failure in our nation’s history during the financial crisis in 2008, FDIC became its receiver and brokered the sale of assets. JPMorgan, which made the purchase for $1.9 billion, says that the FDIC promised to protect or indemnify the bank from liabilities. Regulators had encouraged the firm to buy Washington Mutual hoping this would help bring back stability to the banking system.

Since then, however, contends JPMorgan, the FDIC has refused to acknowledge mortgage-backed securities claims by investors and the government against the firm. The bank says that the cases should have been made against the receivership instead. (In its lawsuit, JPMorgan says there are enough assets in the receivership to cover a settlement with mortgage companies Freddie Mac (FMCC) and Fannie Mae (FNMA) and other claims, such as a slip and fall personal injury case involving a Washington Mutual branch.) Meantime, the FDIC maintains that JPMorgan is the one who should be accountable for any liabilities from its acquisition of Washington Mutual.

UBS (UBS) will pay $885 million to settle Federal Housing Finance Agency to settle allegations that it misrepresented mortgage-backed bonds during the housing bubble. $415 million of the mortgage settlement will go to Fannie Mae, while $470 million will be paid to Freddie Mac, both government-sponsored enterprises, over the $200 million in mortgage-backed securities that were sold to them.

According to FHFA, UBS misrepresented the quality of loans that were underlying residential mortgage-backed securities worth billions of dollars that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ended up buying. Both firms were seized in 2008 when losses from subprime mortgages brought them close to insolvency. They still are under US conservatorship.

UBS is the third to settle with FHFA over RMBS allegations. Citigroup (C) and General Electric Co. (GE) were the first.

The United States is suing Bank of America Corporation (BAC) for more than $1 billion over alleged mortgage fraud involving the sale of defective loans to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The federal government contends that Countrywide, and then later Bank of America, following its acquisition of the former, executed the “Hustle,” a loan origination process intended to swiftly process loans without the use of quality checkpoints. This allegedly resulted in thousands of defective and fraudulent residential mortgage loans, which were sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that later defaulted, leading to innumerable foreclosures and over $1 billion in losses.

The US claims that between 2007 and 2009, mortgage company Countrywide Financial Corp. got rid of checks and quality control on loans, including opting not to use underwriters, giving unqualified personnel incentives to cut corners, and hiding defects, and then proceeded to falsely keep claiming that these loans were qualified to be insured by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The result, says U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, was that taxpayers were left to foot the bill from these “disastrously bad loans.”

The Hustle was initiated by Countrywide in 2007 via its Full Spectrum Lending Division during a rise in loan default rates and while, in an effort to reduce risk, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were getting tougher about requirements for loan purchases. In addition to eliminating key quality control and check procedures, Hustle allegedly depended on inexperienced and unqualified loan processers to handle underwriting duties, while giving them financial incentives to place quantity over quality.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged six ex-executives of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) with securities fraud. The Commission claims that they not only knew that misleading statements were being made claiming that both companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans but also they approved these messages.

The six people charged are former Freddie Mac CEO and Chairman of the Board Richard F. Syron, ex-Chief Business Officer and Executive Vice President Patricia L. Cook, and former ex-Single Family Guarantee Executive Vice President Donald J. Bisenius. The three ex-Fannie Mae executives that the SEC has charged are former CEO Daniel H Mudd, ex-Fannie Mae’s Single Family Mortgage Executive Vice President Thomas A. Lund, and ex- Chief Risk Officer Enrico Dallavecchia.

In separate securities fraud lawsuits, the SEC accuses the ex-executives of causing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to issue materially misleading statements about their subprime mortgage loans in public statements, SEC filings, and media interviews and investor calls. SEC enforcement director Robert Khuzami says that the former executives “substantially” downplayed what their actual subprime exposure “really was.”

The SEC contends that in 2009, Fannie told investors that its books had about $4.8 billion of subprime loans, which was about .2% of its portfolio, when, in fact, the mortgage company had about $43.5 billion of these products, which is about 11% of its holdings. Meantime, in 2006 Freddie allegedly told investors that its subprime loans was somewhere between $2 to 6 billion when, according to the SEC, its holdings were nearer to $141 billion (10% of its portfolio). By 2008, Freddie had $244 billion in subprime loans, which was 14% of its portfolio.

Yet despite these facts, the ex-executives allegedly continued to maintain otherwise. For example, the SEC says that in 2007, Freddie CEO Syron said the mortgage firm had virtually “no subprime exposure.”

It was in 2008 that the government had to bail out both Fannie and Freddie. It continues to control both companies. The rescue has already cost taxpayers approximately $150 billion, and the Federal Housing Finance Administration, which acts as its governmental regulator, says that this figure could rise up to $259 billion.

Today, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae both entered into agreements with the government that admitted their responsibility for their behavior without denying or admitting to the charges. They also consented to work with the SEC in their cases against the ex-executives.

The Commission is seeking disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, financial penalties, officer and director bars, and permanent and injunctive relief.

Ex-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac execs charged with fraud, USA Today/AP, December 16, 2011

SEC Charges Former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Executives with Securities Fraud, SEC, December 16, 2011

More Blog Posts:

Former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Told Hedge Funds About Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Bailouts in Advance, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, November 30, 2011

Morgan Keegan Settles Subprime Mortgage-Backed Securities Charges for $200M, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 29, 2011

Freddie Mac and Fannie May Drop After They Delist Their Shares from New York Stock Exchange, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 25, 2010

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According to, former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told a number of Wall Street executives in advance that the government was planning on Taking Control of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. This information, reportedly delivered to them at the Eton Park Capital Management LP offices on July 21, 2008 when Paulson was still in office, came just one day after he told the New York Times that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve were inspecting both mortgage giants’ books and that he expected that this would give the markets a sign of confidence.

There were about a dozen people present at the Eton Park gathering, including the hedge fund’s founder Eric Mindich, at least five former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alumni, Lone Pine Capital LLC founder Stephen Mandel, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC’s Daniel Och, TPG-Axon Capital Management LP’s Dinakar Singh, Kynikos Associates Ltd.’s James Chanos, GSO Capital Partners LP co-founder Bennett Goodman, Evercore Partners Inc.’s Roger Altman, and Quadrangle Group LLC co-founder Steven Rattner.

Paulson reportedly spoke about placing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into “conservatorship,” which would then allow the firms to stay in business. He said that the two government-sponsored enterprises’ stock, as well as numerous classes of preferred stock, would be eliminated. One fund manager who was there that day said he was surprised at Paulson’s wiliness to reveal such details.

Paulson did not do anything illegal when he gave out this insider information. However, any of the executives who were there today could have traded on this inside information. Whether anyone did is a mystery, seeing as firm-specific short stock sales cannot be tracked with public documents.

The US government seized Frannie and Freddie a couple of weeks after the Eton Park gathering and control of the firms was handed over to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

At the time, Paulson said that the failure of Freddie and Fannie was not an option—considering that over $5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and debt that the two of them had issued belonged to central banks and other investors throughout the world.

Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that taxpayer loss from the government takeover could go as high as almost $400 billion. The FHFA said it was looking to offset some of this by getting billions of dollars back from banks that sold Fannie and Freddie bad loans. By September of 2010—two years after the seizure—the cost of the bailouts had already hit $148.2 million and concerns arose when the Obama Administration announced that it was raising the $400 billion cap on the government’s commitment to the two mortgage giants through 2012.

Our securities fraud lawyers represent clients though sustained severe losses when the housing market collapsed. Unfortunately, broker misconduct contributed to a number of these losses.

How Paulson Gave Hedge Funds Advance Word of Fannie Mae Rescue,, November 29, 2011

Losses from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac seizures may near $400 billion, Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2011

U.S. Seizes Mortgage Giants, Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2008

Related Web Resources:

MF Global Shortfall May Be More than $1.2B, Says Trustee, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, November 26, 2011

Bonds Defeat Stocks For the First Time Since Prior to the Civil War, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, November 26, 2011

Wells Investment Securities Agrees to $300,000 Fine by FINRA for Alleged Use of Misleading Marketing Materials for REIT Offerings, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, November 23, 2011

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