Articles Posted in Royal Bank of Scotland

Another Jury Finds Ex-Jefferies Group Trader Guilty of RMBS Fraud
A federal jury has convicted Jesse Litvak of one count of securities fraud. The ex-Jefferies Group LLC (JEF) bond trader was tried again on allegations that he bilked customers of $2M when he inflated the prices that he claimed he paid for residential mortgage-backed securities. As a result of his claims, professional investment managers and hedge funds paid too much for bonds.

Another jury had found Litvak guilty of fraud two years ago. However, in 20015, a federal appellate court dismissed parts of the RMBS fraud case against him. The securities fraud charges were retried before a new jury.

During this trial, prosecutors claimed that Litvak’s customers had totally relied on him for bond pricing information. His legal team, however, argued that his customers were sophisticated investors and did what they wanted regardless of his advice.

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 Nomura Home Equity Loan, Inc. and Nomura Asset Acceptance Corporation have agreed to jointly pay over $3M to settle allegations that they engaged in the sale of faulty residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) to the Western Corporate Federal Credit Union and the U.S. Central Federal Credit Union. The National Credit Union Administration brought the RMBS fraud case on behalf of the  two corporate credit unions.
It was in 2011 that the NCUA Board, while serving as liquidating agent for both financial institutions, brought the claims against the Nomura entities. The RMBS lawsuit was brought in federal district courts in Kansas and California.
The $3M settlement dismisses NCUA’s pending cases against the two firms. By settling, neither firm is denying or admitting to the alleged wrongdoing.

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Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) subsidiary RBS Securities Inc. will pay the state of Connecticut $120M to settle allegations related to its dealings with mortgage-backed securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. According to state officials, RBS played a part in the crisis when it neglected to do the proper due diligence around certain tools for mortgage-backed investments. They accused the subsidiary of unethical and dishonest behavior, as well as of making false statements. 
They contend that RBS, which was one of the largest underwriters of residential mortgage-backed securities, did not make sure that the information it offered about RMBS deals was accurate. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said that he and the state’s Department of Banking worked together in investigating this matter. 

RBS doesn’t securitize newly originated RMBSs anymore. It was, however, the lead underwriter for approximately 250 residential mortgage-backed securities between ’05 and ’08. Part of its job was to perform the due diligence on mortgage loans used for collateral. However, Connecticut claims that RBS’s due diligence was “inadequate,” causing “omissions and misstatements” to be made to the public and investors.  They even contend that in certain instance, RBS rated certain loans that
 had already been lower rated by third-party vendors with higher-grade ratings. 

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Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) will settle two civil residential mortgage-backed securities lawsuits for $1.1B.  The payment will go to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and resolves claims accusing the bank of selling faulty MBSs to two corporate credit unions, causing their failure.  The federal actions were brought in California and Kansas, respectively. This is one of the largest settlements reached in mortgage-backed securities cases brought against banks.
The allegedly toxic RMBSs were sold to Western Corporate Federal Credit Union and the Central Federal Credit Union. By settling, however, RBS is not admitting fault.
It was just last year that Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to pay $129.6M to NCUA to resolve claims over its sale of mortgage-backed securities to Members United Corporate Federal Credit Union and Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union. Both are now defunct, too. 

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U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority is barring Paul White, an ex-Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) trader, for misconduct involving the rigging of the London interbank offered rate. The FCA said that White behaved with recknlessness and was not in integrity when he would submit information about Libor related to the Swiss frank and the Japanese yen.

According to the British regulator, from 5/07 to 11/10, White improperly considered requests that came from derivatives traders at two banks when issuing Libor submissions. If any of the information he turned in wasn’t been accurate, this could have changed the rate for Libor in a manner benefitting White and others. In a news release, the FCA said that White had a duty to make sure his submissions were correct and not influenced by his own financial interests or the interests of others.

The regulator provided a transcript that included electronic messages between a broker at another bank and White. The messages indicated that they worked together to rig Libor.

White was the recipient of 68 communications from RBS derivatives traders for Libor submissions. In the exchanges, said the FCA, the traders sought to help their trading positions. There was also a Swiss franc trader that purportedly made such requests verbally for twenty months. White also received requests from a yen derivatives trader who did not work at the firm.

The FCA’s final notice states that White claims that although he took into account trading positions when issuing Libor submissions, his entries were always “correct” and within a range that was acceptable according Libor’s definition. White claimed that he engaged in seemingly improper communications only to “appease.” FCA, however, rejects White’s account of what happened. Yet despite imposing an industry bar against him, the regulator waived what could have been a $354,000 fine because White is undergoing financial difficulties.

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US Supreme Court Turns Down Banks’ Bid that It Examine FDIC Case
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to review the 2015 ruling made by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that revived the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) securities case accusing Goldman Sachs (GS), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and Deutsche Bank (DB) of misrepresenting the quality of securities it sold to Guaranty Bank, which later failed. The FDIC took the Texas bank into receivership in 2009 and sued the banks in 2014.

A judge in Austin, Tx. dismissed the case, citing a state law requiring that lawsuits be brought within five years of a mortgage-backed security’s sale. The complaint had been filed at least 9 years after the MBSs were sold.

Last August, the Fifth Circuit cited a 1989 federal law and revived the case. The appeals court said that the FDIC is allowed an extended time period to file complaints for institutions that it insures and have gone into receivership. Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King wrote that it was this federal law that made it possible for the FDIC to concentrate on dealing with bank failures rather than worrying about possible statutes and their limitations.

RBS, Goldman, and Deutsche then filed their petitioned with the U.S. Supreme Court. The banks pointed to a past holding by the highest court that barred other courts from preempting state law unless the U.S. Congress has made such a preemption clear.

Credit Suisse Resolves MBS Case for $29M
Credit Suisse (CS) must pay $29M to settle the National Credit Union Administration’s claim that it sold bad mortgage-backed-securities to credit unions. NCUA’s lawsuit revolves around MBSs that UBS (UBS) underwrote and sold to Members United Corporate Federal Credit Union and the Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union for over $228M from ’06 to ’07. Both credit unions have since failed.

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A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel says that Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) securities division in the U.S. must pay Jeffrey Howard, an ex-executive that it fired, $2.05M in compensatory damages because of the way he was let go. The bank must also retract his termination and expunge his regulatory record of any comments that are defamatory.

The FINRA arbitration panel’s case summary said that according to Howard, the bank fired him because it didn’t want people to find out that there was “significant internal turmoil” at the financial institution. Howard, who joined the firm’s RBS Securities in 2012 as head of its prime services for the Americas, eventually went on to become global-co-head of the group and then later its sole head. Previous to all of that he worked at Bank of America (BAC) Merrill Lynch. After he was let go by Royal Bank of Scotland in 2014, Howard filed a breach of contract and defamation case with FINRA contending that the disclosure about his firing was false.

According to the FINRA panel, Howard should not have been let go for cause. It found that the bank made fundamental mistakes and inconsistencies in: the way it interpreted internal policies and put them into effect, the facts it employed to decide to fire him, and the rationale behind that decision. The panel said that Howard did not violate any internal policies.

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Barclays (BARC) will pay $325M to resolve two civil cases related to residential mortgage-backed securities sales that took place during the housing boom. The plaintiff of both securities lawsuits is the National Credit Union Administration, which regulates federal credit unions.

A number of credit unions under NCUA’s purview failed after they invested in mortgage-backed securities. The union believes that the banks that underwrote the securities misled buyers.

RMBS are investments that pool the returns and risks of personal mortgages. The quality of these securities came into question several years ago when homeowners began to default on the mortgages backing them. NCUA believes that it is its statutory duty to obtain recoveries for credit unions while making sure that customers are protected.

By settling, Barclays is not admitting fault. According to The New York Times, the bank sponsored and underwrote approximately $35M in mortgage securitizations in the US and sold $19.4B in loans that were originated and sold to third parties by affiliates of an entity that it had acquired. Upon completion of this settlement, NCUA will dismiss pending litigation against Barclays in district court in Kansas and New York.

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$1.87B securities settlement has been reached with 12 major banks. The case resolves investor claims that the financial firms conspired to rig prices to hold back competition in the credit default market. For now, the resolution is an agreement in principal and the parties have two weeks to work out the details before turning the deal over to U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan for preliminary approval.

The defendants in this credit default case are:

· Bank of America Corp. (BAC)


· Goldman Sachs Group Inc., (GS)

· Barclays (BARC)

· Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS)

· BNP Paribas SA (BNP)

· Morgan Stanley (MS)

· Citigroup (C)

· JPMorgan Chase (JPM)

· Credit Suisse Group AG (CS)

· Deutsche Bank AG (DB)

· HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBC)

Markit Ltd and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association are also defendants.

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Five global banks have consented to pay $5.6B in penalties to resolve claims related to a U.S. probe into whether traders at these institutions manipulated foreign-currency rates for their benefit. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), UBS AG (UBS), Citigroup Inc. (C), and Barclays PLC (BARC) will also plead guilty to criminal charges that they conspired to rig prices of U.S. dollars and euros.

According to officials involved with the Department of Justice investigation, which went on for 19 months, traders withheld offers or bids to avoid getting the rates going in directions that would hurt the open positions of other traders, with whom they were colluding. These traders, who were from the different banks, formed what they dubbed as “The Cartel.” They would meet in online chatrooms and communicate via coded language to coordinate efforts to manipulate rates. Hand signals also were reportedly used during calls with clients. Aside from the $5.6B in peanltlies, the firms are paying another $1.6 billion in fines to the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Citibank is paying the biggest criminal fine of $925M plus a $342M penalty to the Fed. The bank was allegedly involved in currency manipulation from the end of 2007 through the beginning of 2013. Meantime, J.P. Morgan will pay the DOJ $550M and the Fed $342M.

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