Swiss bank Credit Suisse agreed on Friday to pay US$885 million to settle US charges it sold shoddy mortgage bonds to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ahead of the financial crisis.
Credit Suisse will pay about US$651 million to Fannie and US$234 million to Freddie, said the US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator of the two companies rescued by government during the 2008 financial crisis.
The FHFA said the settlement resolves all of its claims in two lawsuits against Credit Suisse.
The claims alleged that Credit Suisse misrepresented the quality of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities it sold to Freddie and Fannie during 2005 to 2007.
Credit Suisse agreed to the settlement while still “vigorously” denying the allegations in both cases.
The agency said the bank’s documentation for the securities contained misstatements and omissions of material facts concerning the quality of the underlying mortgage loans, the creditworthiness of the borrowers and the practices used to originate such loans.
During the years-long housing bubble, banks’ loose lending practices extended subprime mortgages to borrowers with patchy credit and at-risk finances. Those borrowers began to default on the loans, spurring the subprime crisis that collapsed the bubble and led to the 2008 financial crisis.
“As a result of defendants’ misstatements and omissions of material fact, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have suffered substantial losses as the value of their holdings has significantly deteriorated,” the suit said.
The FHFA was created in 2008 to oversee the government’s conservatorship of Fannie and Freddie, which back most of the mortgages financed in the US.
The settlement marks the latest big government settlement with a US banking giant in the aftermath of the housing bust.
Since the beginning of the year, the FHFA has announced US$2.26 billion in settlements, including the latest with Credit Suisse.
Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley paid US$1.25 billion and French bank Societe Generale paid US$122 million last month.
For all of last year, the FHFA recovered nearly US$8 billion on behalf of taxpayers through such settlements.
FHFA sued 18 financial institutions in 2011 alleging securities law violations, and in some cases, fraud, in relation to their marketing of mortgage-backed securities.
Credit Suisse on Friday said it would take an after-tax charge of 275 million Swiss francs (US$311.6 million) on its financial results last year.
“This agreement resolves Credit Suisse’s largest mortgage-related investor litigation,” the Zurich-based bank said in a statement.
Credit Suisse is also one of 14 Swiss banks under US investigation for allegedly accepting tens of billions of undeclared dollars from US citizens trying to avoid taxes.
A former banker of Credit Suisse pleaded guilty on March 12 to the charge.
Andreas Bachmann, a Swiss citizen, admitted that between 1994 and 2006, he engaged in a “wide-ranging” conspiracy to defraud US tax officials, the US Department of Justice said.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
A two-hour drive south of Amsterdam in Veldhoven, workers decked out head-to-toe in protective gear toil in vast assembly halls. Before entering the inner sanctuary of the facilities, they meticulously layer on masks, gloves and special socks. A single speck of dust or a hair can have devastating effects on production. The result of all this painstaking process is an environment that is 10,000 times more purified than outside. As COVID-19 grips the world, it might just be the safest place to work right now. The teams belong to ASML Holding NV, which holds a de facto monopoly on the industry of
DBS Bank Ltd yesterday hacked its GDP growth forecast for Taiwan this year to 0.9 percent, down from its estimate of 2.3 percent two months earlier, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing financial market volatility. The bank’s latest forecast was even lower than London-based IHS Markit Ltd’s estimate of 1 percent, while other research institutes’ projections range from 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent. Taiwan’s economic momentum is being negatively affected by the pandemic, DBS said. The rapid spread of the disease from Asia to Europe and the US has dampened the bank’s previous expectation of a “V-shaped” global rebound in the
DOWNSIDE RISKS: Firms have a ‘very low’ chance of boosting investment returns in the next two years, making it hard for them to improve their capitalization, an analyst said Taiwanese life insurers wanting to improve their capital structure face strong headwinds this year, given prolonged low interest rates and economic impacts derived from trade protectionism and the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) said on Friday. The local life insurance sector also still has high asset risks and such risks are susceptible to market volatility, the local arm of Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings said. Since last year, major financial holding companies — including CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控), Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) — have announced plans to raise fresh capital to