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JPMorgan Negotiates $4.5 Billion Settlement with Mortgage Trustees

In an effort to resolve claims against JPMorgan over alleged misrepresentations related to money-losing mortgage bonds, trustees agreed on Friday to accept the bank’s $4.5 billion settlement offer on behalf of the great majority of trusts that owned mortgage-backed securities issued by the bank.

As part of the negotiations, the trustees rejected the deal for six of approximately 330 trusts included in the offer, according to a notice posted on a website run by the trustees. Twenty seven trusts obtained an extension until October 1st for one or more loan groups.

The lack of a more sweeping approval may leave the bank exposed to a larger payout. The deadline for accepting the proposed settlement has been pushed back several times. Representatives of the trustees declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

JPMorgan and a group of 21 institutional investors negotiated the offer. As a group, the institutional investors owned more than $24 billion (32 percent) of the securities issued by the trusts, according to the petition.

As originally reported by Reuters, JPMorgan reached the $4.5 billion agreement in November with 21 institutional investors in 330 residential mortgage-backed securities trusts issued by JPMorgan and Bear Stearns, which the bank took over during the financial crisis. One of the trusts was later excluded from the deal.

The settlement would resolve claims over misrepresentations related to the quality of home loans securitized into bonds before the U.S. housing market crash that occurred in 2007.

The trustees, who included Bank of New York Mellon, Wells Fargo Bank, and HSBC Bank USA faced an Aug. 1st deadline for a decision on whether to accept the offer. JPMorgan does not have to go through with the $4.5 billion deal if the number of trusts that reject the deal are in excess of a confidential limit the parties negotiated. Assuming it goes forward, the trustees will seek court approval for the trusts that accept the agreement.

"We believe the acceptance by the Trustees of the overwhelming majority of the 330 trusts is a significant step toward finalizing the settlement", a JPMorgan spokeswoman said in a statement.

Bank of America Corp reached a similar deal with an investor group in June 2011. The bank agreed to pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims by investors in securities issued by Countrywide Financial Corp, which Bank of America acquired in 2008. A New York judge largely approved that deal in January, although appeals are pending.

About Author: Derek Templeton

Derek Templeton is an attorney based in Dallas, Texas. He practices in the areas of real estate, financial services, and general corporate transactional law. His experience includes time as an Attorney Adviser for the U.S. Small Business Administration and as General Counsel for a nonprofit organization in Dallas. A self-avowed "policy junkie," he has a keen interest in the effect that evolving federal policy has on the mortgage, default servicing, and greater housing industries.

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