BY Richard Summerfield
Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to pay $1.1bn to settle a number of legal claims in the US which alleged that the bank mis-sold mortgage securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.
RBS sold the securities to two credit unions, which failed after the US housing bubble burst in 2008. Accordingly, state-backed RBS, which has admitted no fault under the terms of the deal, has struck the settlement with the National Credit Union Administration Board (NCUA), which regulates credit unions.
The deal will see RBS resolve two lawsuits which had been filed in federal courts in California and Kansas by the NCUA, which had been acting as the liquidating agents for two failed credit unions.
Rick Metsger, chairman of the NCUA, said, "NCUA is pleased with today's settlement and fully intends to stay the course in fulfilling its statutory responsibilities to protect the credit union system and to pursue recoveries against financial firms that we maintain contributed to the corporate crisis."
The settlement brings the agency's recoveries against various banks to $4.3bn in lawsuits over their sale of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis.
Though RBS has finalised this deal with the NCUA, it is not yet out of the woods. The settlement with the NCUA board is just one of the three major issues that bank is currently facing regarding its selling practices in the build-up to the financial crisis. The bank must still address suits being brought against it by the Department of Justice and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
According to RBS, the settlement won’t have a material impact on the bank’s core capital ratio given that the $1.1bn payment will be “substantially covered by existing provisions”. In 2015 the bank agreed to pay $129.6m to settle a separate case with the NCUA. Though the most recent settlement will see the NCUA will dismiss its pending civil lawsuits against the bank, RBS is still defending against 15 civil lawsuits in the US, though it has not yet entered formal discussions with the DoJ.
Going forward, the bank is likely to have to pay out considerably more than $1.1bn to the DoJ and FHFA. Indeed, it is believed that ultimately the bank may be forced to pay a total of $13bn. Accordingly, RBS noted that it “may require additional provisions in future periods that in aggregate could be materially in excess of the provisions".
RBS is not alone in drawing the ire of the DoJ, with Deutsche Bank recently fined $14bn for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities.