Bank of America gets big legal win

A state court has stated that a lawsuit against the bank was premature.

By Trefis Apr 2, 2012 5:44PM
Image: Home with foreclosure sign in front yard © Ariel Skelley/Stockbyte/Getty ImagesIn what is possibly the best news Bank of America (BAC) received on the legal front in months, the troubled U.S. lender has been let off the hook in a mortgage-related lawsuit against it by investment firm Walnut Place.

The Supreme Court of the state of New York dismissed the lawsuit filed last February stating that Walnut Place cannot sue the lender directly without giving trustee Bank of New York Mellon (BK) enough time to handle the matter.

The judgment has a bigger, more far-reaching impact on Bank of America and all other banks jostling with a long list of mortgage-related lawsuits, as it reinforces the procedure that needs to be followed for such lawsuits.

We stand by our $8.50 price estimate for Bank of America's stock. This is nearly 12% below the current market price, and we attribute this difference to the earnings downside related to Bank of America's shaky mortgage portfolio and the long list of lawsuits the bank still faces.


Bank of America Stock Break-Up

Walnut Place bought mortgage-backed securities worth about $1.4 billion from Countrywide before the latter was acquired by Bank of America during the economic downturn of 2008. In the lawsuit, Walnut Place argued that Bank of America should buy back the defective portfolio underlying the securities. It also mentioned that it was filing the lawsuit directly because the trustee to this deal, BNY Mellon, had failed to get Bank of America to purchase the portfolio and had also not initiated any legal action.


But the court decided in favor of Bank of America, stating that the lawsuit was premature and BNY Mellon has not been allowed sufficient time to act out its role as the trustee.


Bank of America Provision for Losses as percent of Mortgage Earning Assets

The court's decision is a huge break for Bank of America which incurred mortgage-related settlement, provision and other litigation expenses of nearly $20 billion in 2011. These figures for 2009 and 2010 were $13 billion and $15 billion respectively.


With Countrywide's acquisition widely acknowledged as the single largest source of legal issues for the bank, it will be a relief for Bank of America to know that it would not have to deal with lawsuits from each individual investor who ended up with a loss doing business with Countrywide.


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5Comments
Apr 2, 2012 6:19PM
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bank of america first needs time to digest countrtwides method of giving a mortgage and that they did not  give the mortgages coutrywide did?were they informed about this before they aquired countrywide??   ALSO WHO SIGNS A MORTGAGE AGREEMENT THAT THEY KNOW THEY CANT AFFORD???
Apr 3, 2012 4:33PM
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There are too many of people like you - just mad at BAC, regardless what the reality is.  The reviewer (Rutkowski) was objective and ask some logical questions.

Why is everyone blaming BAC, when the mortgage loans were signed between Country Wide and the borrows?

May be you are one of them people taking advantage of not have to pay your mortgage, or one of those who borrow $500,000, and only want to pay back $25.00.

Why are the borrowers are not sharing any of the blames?

I knew how much I had to pay monthly and knew how much mortgage I could afford when I took out my mortgage.

 

Apr 3, 2012 10:05AM
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vilany rutkowski - do you not think that BOA did not know about all the bogus mortgages that were on the street and how many of them were falsified by the many mortgage brokers just to get the cash to create the mortgage backed securities --really the is and will always be the biggest rape of the worlds investors and American homeowners.
Apr 3, 2012 9:28AM
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