Bank of America reaches $8.5 billion settlement over bad mortgages

June 29, 2011 10:39AM

Bank of America agreed to pay $8.5 billion to investors nationwide to settle claims that it sold bad mortgages, and according to Crain’s, the payment stabilized the bank in the eyes of investors. A group of 22 investors, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, initially demanded that the bank repurchase $47 billion in subprime mortgage-backed securities that it sold to them as bonds. They argued that the bank profited by continuing to service the bad loans while its investors bled cash. The settlement covers 530 trusts with an original balance of $424 billion, and must still be approved by a court. Most of the failed mortgages were sold by Countrywide, which BofA bought for $4 billion in 2008. Despite the magnitude of the settlement, it represents just 2 percent of the original principal balance, and Crain’s said the settlement allows the bank to put uncertainty behind it and improve performance. Though the settlement puts BofA’s second-quarter losses at $9 billion, the company’s stock rose more than 4 percent before the market opened, as news circulated that a settlement had been reached. [Crain’s]