Articles Tagged with FDIC

In the UK, the US government is suing several banks over Libor rigging allegations in High Court. The defendants in the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) manipulation lawsuit include Deutsche Bank (DB), Barclays (BARC), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds Banking Group, UBS (UBS), Rabobank (RABO), and several other banks, in addition to the British Bankers Association.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s claim, the banks would engage in lowballing by turning in estimates that were artificially low when participating in the daily process to set the Libor rate. The US agency said that it is suing for 39 US banks, which were once collectively valued at over $400M, that failed after they depended on the US dollar denominated-Libor variant for derivative and other transactions. FDIC contends that the inaccurate figures submitted by the European banks caused the US banks to sustain massive losses.

It believes that if the Libor rate had been set honestly, the benchmark’s rate would would have been higher and these banks would have achieved higher prices and larger returns on different mortgages, loans, options, swaps, and other Libor-tied agreements. Instead, the plaintiffs allegedly colluded together to keep borrowing rates down to make it appear as if the banks were in more robust financial health than what was actual. The FDIC argued that the joint efforts of the banks and the British Bankers Association resulted in the “sustained and material suppression of Libor” from August 2007 through at least 2009.

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In New York, the Appellate Division, First Department, a state appellate court, is allowing Aozara Bank’s (AOZOF) mortgage-backed securities fraud lawsuit against JPMorgan & Chase (JPM) to proceed. The Japanese bank, which had brought MBS claims against a number banks, is alleging aiding and abetting fraud and fraud related to the banks’ creation, marketing, and/or sale of high risk securities.

Aozara had invested close to $560M by 2009 in at least 35 collateralized debt obligations that a number of banks had structured. It sued not just JPMorgan but also Barclays Bank (BARC), Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. (DB), Credit Suisse (CS), UBS AG (UBS), Goldman Sachs Group (GS), Credit Agricole, and Morgan Stanley (MS) in 2013.

In the collateralized debt obligation lawsuit against JPMorgan, the First Department reversed a ruling issued earlier by the Manhattan Supreme Court. The appellate panel has now found that the Japanese bank  had properly stated claims for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and also fraud.  Aozora contends that JPMorgan, which is Bear Stearns successor, depicted certain CDOs as legitimate investments even as it used them to get rid of risky assets that were toxic. The appellate panel said that JPMorgan  has not demonstrated that its claims in offering documents gave Aozora proper notice that JPMorgan defendants had colluded to accept the toxic CDO assets from Bear Stearns’ balance sheets. The ruling said that Aozora’s lawsuit included enough facts to support its reasonable inference that fraud and scienter had occurred.

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has adopted new rules mandating that banks collect more collateral, also known as margin, for swaps transactions. This would serve as a type of insurance in the event that trades were to fail.

Swaps involve two parties swapping price swing risks in interest rates, currencies, commodities, and other matters. Manufacturers, financial firms, energy firms, and farmers use swaps to hedge and bet against these swings. Swap dealers and significant swap participants should be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. They typically take part in over $8 billion in swaps yearly.

Swaps are part of a multi-trillion-dollar global market of contracts. They let counterparties trade a benchmark or fixed price for one that fluctuates. This allows companies to hedge exposure to the changes in the market in terms of its values and process. The new rules come in the wake of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which required such regulations to lower the risks involved in derivatives.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the FDIC’s new rules seek to prevent the kind of risk-taking that led to the government having to bail out certain firms, such as American International Group Inc. Prior to the financial crisis AIG establish a huge derivatives book. When the trades failed, counterparties demanded that collateral be increased. Because the insurer couldn’t pay, the government had to get involved. If the new rules were in place back then, AIG would have been required to put aside more collateral before getting involved in the contracts. This would have placed a limit on its portfolio’s growth.

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JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is suing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for over $1 billion dollars related to the bank’s purchase of Washington Mutual (WMIH). The financial firm said that the FDIC did not honor its duties per the purchase agreement.

When Washington Mutual suffered the biggest bank failure in our nation’s history during the financial crisis in 2008, FDIC became its receiver and brokered the sale of assets. JPMorgan, which made the purchase for $1.9 billion, says that the FDIC promised to protect or indemnify the bank from liabilities. Regulators had encouraged the firm to buy Washington Mutual hoping this would help bring back stability to the banking system.

Since then, however, contends JPMorgan, the FDIC has refused to acknowledge mortgage-backed securities claims by investors and the government against the firm. The bank says that the cases should have been made against the receivership instead. (In its lawsuit, JPMorgan says there are enough assets in the receivership to cover a settlement with mortgage companies Freddie Mac (FMCC) and Fannie Mae (FNMA) and other claims, such as a slip and fall personal injury case involving a Washington Mutual branch.) Meantime, the FDIC maintains that JPMorgan is the one who should be accountable for any liabilities from its acquisition of Washington Mutual.

In a record first involving the Federal Deposit Insurance Company suing the auditors of a failed bank, the government agency has filed a lawsuit against Crowe Horwath LLP (CROHORP) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for over $1 billion for their alleged failure to detect the securities fraud perpetuated by Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. that led to the demise of Colonial Bank. Taylor Bean was one of the bank’s biggest clients. The two auditors are accused of gross negligence, professional malpractice, and breach of contract for not spotting the scam.

According to the FDIC’s complaint, two Colonial mortgage lending employees, Teresa Kelly and Catherine Kissick, let Taylor Bean officials divert money from the bank without it getting collateral in return. This resulted in Taylor Bean allegedly stealing nearly $1 billion from Colonial by promising it would provide the bank with mortgages that it had actually sold to other banks. The FDIC contends that not only did Kissick and Kelly know about Bean’s fraud but also they made it possible for the cash to be illegally diverted. The two of them would later plead guilty to aiding Taylor Bean’s fraud.

In 2009, Alabama banking regulators seized Colonial. The downfall of Colonial Bank is considered one of the biggest bank failures in our nation’s history and Is expected to cost the FDIC’s insurance fund about $5 billion.

Although auditing firms usually tend to benefit from pari delicto, a common-law doctrine that prevents one wrongdoer from suing another for money made from a joint wrongdoing (and since employees’ actions are usually imputed to the corporation, in this case Colonial typically would also be considered a wrongdoer), the FDIC’s securities case portrays the Colonial lending officials as rogue employees who were working against the bank’s interest—especially as Colonial was harmed by the fraud when it lent Taylor Bean hundreds of millions of dollars that had been secured by loans that didn’t exist or were worthless. If the FDIC succeeds in demonstrating that Kissick and Kelly were working for their own benefit, then in pari delicto may not provide Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Crowe Horwath with such protections.

Meantime, Pricewaterhouse Coopers’s legal team is contending that Colonial’s employees acted to protect Colonial from loss and that Taylor Bean had been paying the bank $20-30 million/month in interest. The defendants are also arguing that auditors shouldn’t have been expected to discover the fraud that was so well hidden that the FDIC and OCC didn’t uncover it either when they conducted targeted exams.

A Tale of Two Lawsuits — PricewaterhouseCoopers and Colonial Bank, Forbes, November 10, 2012

FDIC Sues Auditors Over Colonial Bank Collapse, Smart Money/Dow Jones, November 15, 2012

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

More Blog Posts:

FDIC Objects to Bank of America’s Proposed $8.5B Settlement Over Mortgage-Backed Securities, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, August 30, 2011

Texas Securities RoundUp: Provident Royalties CEO Pleads Guilty in $485M Ponzi Scam and District Court Upholds $100K Arbitration Award in Adviser Fee Dispute, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, November 10, 2012

Standard & Poor’s Misled Investors By Giving Synthetic Derivatives Its Highest Ratings, Rules Australian Federal Court, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, November 8, 2012

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