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Bank Of America's $8.5 Billion Mortgage Settlement Back In State Court

4-traders.comFeb 28, 2012

By Matthias Rieker

In a win for Bank of America Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., an appeals court decided a $8.5 billion settlement reached with mortgage-backed securities investors should be a matter of state rather than federal court.

The settlement between Bank of New York, as the trustee of the securities, on behalf of investors such as BlackRock Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was reached in June and needs to be approved by a judge.

But other investors whose bonds are part of the settlement but weren't part of the negotiations oppose the settlement and were seeking to have a federal judge rule whether the $8.5 billion settlement amount is fair and reasonable. Federal court could have made it easier to those investors to reach a different agreement.

Those investors, including Walnut Place LLC, won a ruling by a federal judge in October. On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, and remanded the matter back to the New York Supreme Court.

"This is an incremental positive for BofA, as it likely narrows the scope of review that the settlement will face, and increases the probability that it gets approved in the proposed $8.5b range," Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst John E. McDonald wrote in a research note.

The "move to state court could reduce uncertainty around the cost of putbacks," he said--delinquent mortgages from securitization pools investors demand Bank of America to take back.

Fitch Ratings wrote, "Now that the case has shifted back to NY, approval is likely to occur earlier, perhaps in mid 2012."

Bank of New York declined to comment.

A spokesman for Bank of America said the Charlotte bank's "chief interest has been that the proposed settlement be considered and eventually approved by a court of unquestionable jurisdiction. We are gratified that the matter has been resolved on appeal."

Back to February 2012 Archive

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