On September 2, the FHFA proposed a rule that would revise the requirements for financial institutions to apply for and retain membership in one of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks (Banks). The proposed rule would revise FHFA’s existing Bank membership regulation to ensure that members maintain a commitment to housing finance and that only eligible entities can gain access to Bank advances and the benefits of membership. Release. Proposed Rule.
On September 3, the Fed, the Farm Credit Administration, the FDIC, the FHFA, and the OCC sought comment on a proposed rule to establish margin requirements for swap dealers, major swap participants, security-based swap dealers and major security-based swap participants as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). The proposed rule would establish minimum requirements for the exchange of initial and variation margin between covered swap entities and their counterparties to non-cleared swaps and non-cleared security-based swaps. The margin requirements mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act are intended to address a number of weaknesses in the regulation and structure of the swap markets that were revealed during the recent financial crisis. The requirements are intended to reduce risk, increase transparency, and promote market integrity. Proposed Rule.
On August 22, Goldman Sachs and FHFA announced a US$3.15 billion settlement of claims brought by FHFA against Goldman in two separate lawsuits related to RMBS purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007. FHFA, as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, asserted claims for violations of federal and state securities law on the basis of alleged material misrepresentations or omissions in the offering documents for the RMBS sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As part of the settlement, Goldman is repurchasing most of the RMBS at issue. Goldman did not admit any liability or wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Fannie Mae Agreement. Freddie Mac Agreement.
On July 30, Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the motion for partial summary judgment brought by FHFA, as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA initiated securities fraud cases against a number of banks alleging false statements made in the offering documents for RMBS purchased by the GSEs between 2005 and 2007. FHFA’s action remains pending against HSBC, Goldman Sachs, RBS Securities and others. In its motion for summary judgment, FHFA sought a ruling that no reasonable jury could find that the GSEs knew the banks’ statements were false. The defendants argued seven categories of circumstantial evidence illustrated the GSEs’ awareness of the information that they now allege was concealed. These included the GSEs’ knowledge about loan originators, participation in the subprime and Alt-A markets, knowledge of risk associated with reduced documentation programs, and anti-predatory lending reviews. The court held that these categories were not enough to prove that the GSEs had actual knowledge that any representation was false, as required by Sections 11 and 12(a)(2) and the Blue Sky Laws. The court therefore granted summary judgment for FHFA on that issue. Decision.
On March 26, Bank of America and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced a settlement of FHFA’s RMBS-related suits against the Bank. The Bank has agreed to pay approximately US$9.3 billion to settle allegations that it violated federal and state securities laws in connection with private-label RMBS purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007. Pursuant to the agreement, approximately US$5.83 billion will be allocated by FHFA to settle all claims asserted in four lawsuits brought by FHFA against Bank of America, Countrywide, and Merrill Lynch, and the remainder will be allocated to repurchases by Bank of America of RMBS held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bank of America Press Release. FHFA Press Release. Settlement Agreement.
On February 27, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it reached a settlement with French bank Société Générale of an RMBS suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. FHFA alleged violations of federal and state securities law in connection with RMBS purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2006. The settlement agreement contains no admission of liability or wrongdoing. Société Générale and four of its subsidiaries will pay $122 million dollars to the agency. Press Release.
On February 25, FHFA announced that Philip A. Laskawy will step down from the chairmanship of Fannie Mae effective March 31, 2014, and will be succeeded by the current board member Egbert L. J. Perry. Press Release.
On February 14, Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied Bank of America’s request to reconsider the court’s earlier order disallowing use of documents produced by plaintiff Federal Housing Finance Agency in a case against Countrywide pending in California. The court found that the parties had obtained sufficient documents to litigate the claims and defenses at issue and that allowing a party to use documents from other litigation in motion practice or at trial would undermine the discovery procedures established by the Court. Order.
On January 8, the FHFA announced that it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to delay the implementation of the increases to the guarantee fees that were originally to be effective in March and April 2014. FHFA Release.