Four weeks ago, Bank of America Corp reached an $8.5 billion settlement it hailed as a step forward in putting mortgage liabilities behind it. But New York’s attorney general is sending strong signals he could try to reshape the deal or even scuttle it.The settlement, which requires court approval, could provide a template for other banks hoping to settle investor claims on residential mortgage-backed securities that went bust in the financial crisis. Bank of America agreed to resolve nearly all repurchase claims tied to mortgage bonds backed by loans from its Countrywide Financial unit.Almost as soon as the ink was dry on the pact, though, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began to look into the deal. The investigation is part of his office’s broader examination of banks’ roles in the mortgage crisis.The agreement was struck by trustees on 530 mortgage bonds with $174 billion in unpaid principal. It is backed by 22 big investors, including Pacific Investment Management Co and BlackRock Inc, which argued the bonds were stuffed with risky home loans that should not have been sold.Some investors complain the pact is rife with conflicts and is a bad deal for them although a plum one for the bank. At least four investor groups have filed court papers saying they might object to the deal.If Schneiderman also challenges the settlement, it could have to be renegotiated — likely at a greater cost to Bank of America, analysts say. According to a court filing on Tuesday by a group of investors who oppose the deal, Schneiderman is close to deciding whether to intervene.“The Attorney General’s office has asked us to inform the court that it is completing its analysis,” wrote David Grais, an attorney for an investor group known as Walnut Place LLC.
From / Gulf Today