US Bank and Bank of America Prevail on Motions to Dismiss

On May 18, 2015, Judge Katherine Forrest of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed claims in two suits brought by private investors and the National Credit Union Association, respectively, against U.S. Bank and Bank of America in their capacity as trustees for RMBS trusts.  The lawsuits asserted several causes of action arising out of the trustees’ alleged failure to fulfill their contractual, statutory, and fiduciary obligations to hundreds of RMBS trusts.

In the first case, brought by a number of institutional investors led by BlackRock, Judge Forrest dismissed claims brought under the federal Trust Indenture Act as to 810 of the 843 trusts at issue because they were governed by Pooling and Servicing Agreements (“PSAs”), rather than indentures, and the TIA does not apply to PSA trusts.  She declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims asserted in connection with the 810 PSA Trusts, holding that allowing 33 indenture trusts to pull in another 810 would allow “a federal tail to wag a state dog.”  For the remaining 33 indenture trusts, Judge Forrest dismissed the claims because the plaintiffs failed to make a demand on the proper party (the “Owner Trustee”) or allege any that such demand would have been futile.  Judge Forrest granted plaintiffs leave to amend as to the indenture trusts.  Order.

In the second case, brought by NCUA, Judge Forrest dismissed claims as to 74 out of the 82 Trusts at issue on standing grounds.  Judge Forrest held that the Amended Complaint failed to demonstrate that NCUA retained any right to sue when it re-securitized its certificates in the 74 trusts as part of the NCUA Guaranteed Note Program.  She rejected NCUA’s statutory standing argument, holding that 12 U.S.C. § 1787 does not authorize NCUA to sue on behalf of separate statutory trusts created to re-securitize the CCUs’ assets.  Additionally, Judge Forrest held that the PSAs did not allow third party beneficiary status to extend beyond direct certificateholders, meaning that NCUA no longer had standing once it ceased being a certificateholder following the re-securitization.  Order.

NCUA Sues U.S. Bank and Bank of America for Allegedly Failing to Comply with RMBS Trustee Duties

On December 16, National Credit Union Administration filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against U.S. Bank N.A. and Bank of America N.A., in their capacity as trustees for 99 RMBS trusts. NCUA filed the suit as liquidating agent for five failed credit unions collectively alleged to have purchased certificates in the trusts at issue. NCUA alleges that U.S. Bank and Bank of America breached their duties under the governing trust agreements by failing to properly review and monitor the loans backing the RMBS, failing to notify the investors of deficiencies in the loans, failing to take action to address those alleged deficiencies, and failing to require the repurchase of defective loans. The complaint asserts causes of action under the Trust Indenture Act and the Streit Act, a New York statute that governs administration of mortgage trusts, and seeks compensatory damages and unspecified equitable relief.  Complaint.

NCUA Sues Wells Fargo for Allegedly Failing to Comply with RMBS Trustee Duties

On December 22, National Credit Union Administration sued Wells Fargo, as an RMBS trustee, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. NCUA filed the suit in its capacity as liquidating agent for five credit unions, collectively alleged to have purchased $2.4 billion in 27 RMBS trusts for which Wells Fargo served as trustee. NCUA alleges that Wells Fargo breached its duties under the governing trust agreements by failing to properly review and monitor the loans underlying the RMBS, failing to notify the investors of deficiencies in the loans, failing to take action to address those alleged deficiencies, and failing to require the repurchase of defective loans. The complaint asserts causes of action under the Trust Indenture Act and a provision of the New York Real Property Law known as the Streit Act.  Complaint.

NCUA Sues Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. For Allegedly Failing to Comply With RMBS Trustee Duties

The National Credit Union Administration, acting as liquidating agent for five failed credit unions, sued Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (DBNTC) for allegedly breaching its duties as trustee under the governing trust agreements for 121 RMBS trusts with a total original face value of approximately $140 billion. The complaint, filed November 10, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, asserts causes of action under the Trust Indenture Act and a provision of the New York Real Property Law known as the Streit Act. The complaint alleges that DBNTC failed to properly review and monitor the loans underlying the RMBS, notify the investors of deficiencies in the loans, take action to address those alleged deficiencies, and enforce the repurchase of defective loans as provided for in the governing agreements. The complaint also alleges that DBNTC failed to exercise proper oversight over the loans’ servicers, including by failing to declare the servicers and master services in default under the agreements. NCUA seeks unspecified damages, equitable relief, pre- and post-judgment interest, and fees and costs.  Complaint.

NCUA Can Bring RMBS Claims Against Goldman Sachs in Federal Court

On January 28, Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied Goldman Sachs’s motion to compel arbitration for RMBS claims brought by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). NCUA brought the claims as the liquidating agent of the Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union. Goldman sought to compel arbitration under an agreement between Southwest and Goldman Sachs from 1992. The court held that NCUA has the power to repudiate contracts of a credit union in liquidation under the terms of its enabling legislation, and exercised that authority here. NCUA’s claims under Sections 11 and 12 of the Securities Act of 1933 and under the Texas Securities Act will proceed in federal district court. Order.

Judge Dismisses Federal Securities Claims from NCUA Action Against Morgan Stanley

On January 22, Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York trimmed claims from a lawsuit brought by the National Credit Union Administration Board, as liquidating agent for various federal credit unions, alleging that two Morgan Stanley entities made material misrepresentations in the offering documents for $400 million in RMBS.  Partially granting Morgan Stanley’s motion to dismiss, the court held that NCUA’s federal securities claims were time-barred under the three-year statute of repose imposed by the Securities Act of 1933.  In reaching this conclusion, the court found that NCUA did not become conservator for the credit unions until after the statute of repose had run, and therefore could not avail itself of a provision of the Federal Credit Union Act that extends the limitations period for actions brought by the NCUA.  Despite its dismissal of NCUA’s federal securities claims, the court ruled that securities claims against Morgan Stanley brought under Illinois and Texas blue sky laws both were timely and adequately pled.  Decision.

Supervisory Approach for Qualified and non-Qualified Mortgage Loans

On December 13, Fed, FDIC, NCUA and OCC issued a statement to clarify safety-and-soundness expectations in order to guide institutions engaged in residential mortgage lending as they assess the implementation of the CFPB’s Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage Standards Rule, which is effective January 10, 2014.  Joint ReleaseJoint Statement.

Final Rules on Appraisal Exemptions for Higher-Priced Mortgages

On December 12, the Fed, FDIC, CFPB, FHFA, NCUA and OCC issued a final rule that creates exemptions from certain appraisal requirements for certain higher-priced mortgage loans.  The final rule provides that loans of $25,000 or less and certain “streamlined” refinancings are exempt from the Dodd-Frank Act appraisal requirements, which go into effect on January 18, 2014.  Joint ReleaseJoint Final Rule.