RMBS

Deutsche Bank Settles DOJ RMBS Claims for $7.2 Billion

 

On December 23, 2016, Deutsche Bank AG (“Deutsche Bank“) announced that it had reached a settlement in principle with the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ“) to resolve possible civil claims arising from Deutsche Bank’s issuance and underwriting of RMBS in the years leading up to the financial crisis. The $7.2 billion settlement includes a $3.1 billion civil penalty, with an additional $4.1 billion paid in the form of consumer relief (including loan modifications and other types of borrower assistance).

Rating Agency Developments

 

On December 7, 2016, Moody’s published its ratings methodology for sustainable net cash flow and value for CMBS and CRE CDO CLO real estate collateral in the Americas and ex-Japan Asia Pacific. Report.

On December 6, 2016, DBRS published its methodology for rating European covered bonds. Report. Addendum.

On December 1, 2016, DBRS updated its master ratings methodology for U.S. asset-backed securitizations (“ABS“). Report.

On December 1, 2016, DBRS updated its ratings methodology for U.S. structured finance transactions. Report.

On December 1, 2016, DBRS updated its methodology for evaluating U.S. ABS originators. Report.

On December 1, 2016, DBRS updated its methodology for evaluating U.S. ABS servicers. Report.

On December 1, 2016, Fitch updated its U.S. RMBS master rating criteria. Report.

On December 1, 2016, Fitch updated and merged its ratings criteria for analyzing U.S. RMBS backed by seasoned performing, re‑performing and non‑performing loans purchased in the secondary market and issued starting in 2014. Report.

On December 1, 2016, Fitch updated its global consumer ABS rating criteria for analyzing ABS backed by consumer receivables globally. Report.

On December 1, 2016, Fitch updated its ratings criteria for analyzing large loans in CMBS. Report.

Rating Agency Developments

 

On November 30, 2016, Fitch published its U.S. water and sewer revenue bond rating criteria. Report.

On November 29, 2016, Fitch published its rating criteria for RMBS transactions in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Report.

On November 29, 2016, Fitch published its rating criteria for GARVEE bonds. Report.

On November 28, 2016, DBRS published an update to its approach to rating U.S. RMBS transactions. Report.

On November 28, 2016, Moody’s published its approach to rating Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) CMBS transactions. Report.

RBS Settles RMBS Suit for $1.1 Billion

On September 27, 2016, the Royal Bank of Scotland (“RBS”) announced a $1.1 billion settlement with the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”) in connection with two federal securities litigations concerning RBS’s underwriting and sale of RMBS. The NCUA, as liquidating agent for Western Corporate Federal Credit Union and U.S. Central Federal Credit Union, brought these actions against RBS and other defendants, claiming that the defendants had misled the credit unions about the risks of RMBS and made various misrepresentations in the offering documents.  Further details of the settlement are not publicly available.

U.S. Bank and WMC Settle Four RMBS Lawsuits

On September 22, 2016, RMBS Trustee U.S. Bank National Association (“U.S. Bank”) and loan originator WMC Mortgage LLC (“WMC”) filed a stipulation of dismissal in four RMBS lawsuits in light of a settlement reached between the parties. The details of the settlement are not publicly available.  The settlement resolves three lawsuits initiated by U.S. Bank, alleging that WMC misrepresented the quality of loans it sold in 2006 and 2007 RMBS offerings, as well as a lawsuit brought by WMC against U.S. Bank, seeking a declaratory judgment regarding WMC’s performance under the governing agreements of an RMBS deal.  Two of U.S. Bank’s lawsuits include claims against loan originator Equifirst Corporation, but these claims are not part of the settlement. Stipulation of Dismissal.

Lehman Estate Settles Claims By RMBS Insurer and Trustee

 

On September 20, 2016, Judge Shelley Chapman of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved the $37 million settlement of $1.3 billion in claims asserted against the estates of two defunct Lehman Brothers’ entities by Syncora Guarantee Inc. in its capacity as the insurer for certain certificates issued from the GMFT 2006-1 RMBS trust. After being sued by the GMFT 2006-1 Trustee for payment under the insurance policy, Syncora filed its own claim for indemnification against Lehman as sponsor of the securitization. In addition to settling Syncora’s claim, the agreement also releases Lehman from all potential claims brought by the GMFT 2006-1 Trustee, U.S. Bank NA, in exchange for Lehman’s cooperation in a separate lawsuit arising from GreenPoint Mortgage Funding Inc.’s alleged failure to repurchase defective loans. Settlement Order. Settlement Agreement Submitted For Approval.

Court Denies Summary Judgment on Issues of Timeliness in NCUA RMBS Suit

 

On September 1, 2016, Judge John W. Lungstrum of the U.S. District of Kansas denied cross-motions for summary judgment on the issue of timeliness brought by RBS, Nomura and the NCUA in NCUA v. RBS Securities, et al. NCUA alleges in its 2011 complaint that it suffered losses of $800 million on 2006-2007 vintage RMBS certificates based on misstatements by the defendants. Defendants RBS and Nomura argued on summary judgment that NCUA’s claims must be dismissed because they were not brought within one year after discovering the allegedly untrue statement or omission, or after such discovery should have been reasonably made. NCUA argued in opposition that it did not have constructive notice of the facts underlying its claims by the relevant dates and that its claims were timely. The Court found that “a jury could reasonably find in favor” of either party as to what a “reasonably diligent investor would have known and done in 2007 and 2008 on the timeliness issue” and that as a result fact questions remained precluding summary judgment for either side. Memorandum and Court Order.

MassMutual and RBS Settle RMBS Litigation

On August 12, 2016, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (“MassMutual”) and RBS jointly moved to dismiss MassMutual’s $235 million RMBS claim, stating that the parties had reached a confidential settlement agreement. MassMutual filed the lawsuit in 2011, alleging violations of the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act.  MassMutual claimed that the defendants made material misrepresentations about the characteristics of mortgage loans that RBS securitized in transactions in which MassMutual invested between 2005 and 2007.  The court entered a final dismissal order on August 15, 2016.  Joint Motion of Dismissal. Order of Dismissal. MassMutual settled similar claims against Barclays Capital Inc. on March 29, 2016 (covered here).

Ninth Circuit Revives RMBS Claims against Nomura

On August 15, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Central District of California’s order dismissing claims brought by the National Credit Union Administration Board (“NCUA”), as liquidating agent of Western Corporate Federal Credit Union (“Wescorp”), against Nomura Home Equity Loan, Inc. (“Nomura”) under the Securities Act of 1933.  In 2014, the district court granted Nomura’s motion to dismiss claims that it had made materially false and misleading statements in the offering documents in respect of certificates sold to Wescorp in 2006 and 2007, holding that the NCUA’s claims were barred by the statute of repose established in Section 13 of the 1933 Act, which runs three years after the securities were offered or sold.  The Ninth Circuit disagreed with the district court, concluding that both the text and the legislative purpose of the Extender Statute in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”) indicate that Congress intended it to supplant the 1933 Act statute of repose and to further a policy of “protecting the government’s right to recovery.” Opinion at 13.  The Ninth Circuit further concluded that, although the text of the Extender Statute only mentions contract and tort claims, because its dictate is to cover “all actions” brought by the NCUA, it also applies to statutory claims, such as the 1933 Act claims at issue in this case.  Thus, the Ninth Circuit held that the NCUA’s claims against Nomura are not time-barred and remanded the case to the Central District for further proceedings. Summary.