On January 27, 2015 the FHFA Director, Melvin L. Watt, testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services. Director Watt’s testimony provided, amongst other items, an update on the financial condition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the financial condition of the Federal Home Loan Banks. Release.
On January 14, FHFA released the 2015 Scorecard outlining specific priorities for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their joint venture, Common Securitization Solutions, LLC. The Scorecard assesses Fannie and Freddie’s performance under FHFA’s Strategic Plan for Fannie and Freddie and furthers the goals outlined thereunder, including building a new single-family securitization infrastructure for use by the Enterprises. Release. Scorecard. Strategic Plan.
On November 18, Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s motion for partial summary judgment on the statute of limitations defense asserted by Nomura and related entities. FHFA, as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, alleges that Nomura made materially false statements in offering documents for RMBS between 2005 and 2007 in violation of Sections 11 and 12(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933. Judge Cote found that Fannie and Freddie did not have sufficient information by September 2007 to determine whether the offering documents contained misstatements, and that a reasonably diligent investor in their position would not have investigated the offering documents or discovered the misstatements by that date. As a result, the Court held that FHFA’s claims were not barred by the statute of limitations. Opinion & Order.
On October 30, the index of interest rates published by the FHFA on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased slightly from August to September from 4.08% to 4.06%. Release.
On October 6, the FHFA announced that it is extending the comment period for its proposed rule on Federal Home Loan Bank membership by 60 days, or to January 12, 2015. The proposed rule would revise the requirements for financial institutions to apply for and retain membership in one of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. Press Release. Proposed Rule.
On September 12, the FHFA and several HSBC affiliates and certain of their current and former officers (collectively, HSBC) announced a US$550 million settlement of claims that the FHFA had brought against HSBC in the Southern District of New York. FHFA, acting as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, alleged that HSBC made false and misleading statements in offering documents issued in connection with 19 RMBS securitizations. It brought claims for violations of Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, as well as the Virginia and Washington, D.C., Securities Acts. HSBC did not admit liability or wrongdoing. Settlement Agreement.
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.