America's largest banks are under threat of a mortgage lawsuit from the federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The banks are accused of misrepresenting the quality of mortgages they packaged and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the housing bubble, according to the Financial Times.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency suit, which is expected to be filed in the coming days, is aimed at Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to New York Times.
In all, the mortgage groups bought nearly $883 billion of securities, according to the FT, which cited Inside Mortgage Finance data. The exact extent of Fannie's and Freddie's losses on these bonds are unclear.
The suits from the agency, which is charged with conserving the assets of the failed mortgage giants, are likely to allege that mortgages that were securitized by Wall Street firms and other issuers misled investors about the quality of the loans, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The suits stem from subpoenas the agency issued to banks last year. The agency would file the suit on Friday or Tuesday, the report said.
The agency would argue the banks, which pooled the mortgages and sold them as securities to investors, failed to perform due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were falsified or inflated, according to The New York Times.
The securities backed by the mortgages quickly lost value when many borrowers proved unable to meet payments. The lawsuits aim to secure reimbursement for losses on securities held by Fannie and Freddie.
Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, due partly to their purchases of mortgage-backed securities, when the housing bubble burst in 2008.