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US Seeking Maximum Penalty Of $864 Million From BofA Over Countrywide Loans

rttnews.com | November 11, 2013

The U.S. government is seeking the maximum penalty of $864 million, allowed under the law, from financial services major Bank of America (BAC: Quote) in connection with a Countrywide loan program dubbed "Hustle" that ran between August 2007 and April 2008.

The maximum penalty was sought after a federal jury in Manhattan federal court last month found Bank of America liable for fraud over the sale of thousands of defective mortgages by its Countrywide unit to government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC). The jury also found former Countrywide Financial executive Rebecca Mairone liable for fraud for assisting in the program. The US government has alleged that Countrywide systematically removed quality controls in order to speed up the program in its endeavor to boost profits at a time that the market for subprime loans was beginning to collapse.

The final determination on the amount of penalty will be made by the presiding US District Judge Jed Rakoff at a later date. Further arguments on the case have been scheduled for December 5. The penalty could also be as low as about $131 million, which is the estimated loss to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the purchases.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency or FHFA, took over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (FINA), two government-backed finance companies in 2008, after they were bailed out by the government. FHFA is now the regulator and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the regulator of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks.

The mortgage-backed securities were sold Countrywide Financial Corp., which was acquired by Bank of America in 2008. The bank has already said to have spent about $50 billion on legal expenses linked to the acquisition.

BAC closed Friday's regular trading session at $14.32, up $0.52 or 3.77% on a volume of 158.23 million shares.

 

Back to November 2013 Archive

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