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Investments

Nomura fighting back against FHFA toxic mortgage lawsuit

Claims U.S. unit “did nothing wrong”

In the last few months, some of the country’s biggest banks, including Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Bank of America (BAC), have settled with the federal government over toxic residential mortgage-backed securities.

But now, one bank is determined to fight back.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Nomura Holdings (NMR) does not want to settle with the Federal Housing Finance Agency because it claims that its U.S. unit did not knowingly sell bonds backed by fraudulently originated loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the crisis.

From the Bloomberg report:

Nomura’s resistance is less about the size of a penalty, which one estimate says won’t exceed $300 million, than its belief that the U.S. unit sued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency did nothing wrong, said the people, who asked that they not be named because the negotiations are private. Nomura also asserts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might not suffer losses on the $2 billion of bonds it sold them, the people (familiar with the negotiations) said.

Nomura’s expected settlement amount pails in comparison to those paid out by Bank of America, which settled with the Department of Justice for $16.65 billion, JPMorgan Chase, which settled for $13 billion, and Citigroup, which settled for $7 billion.

But that apparently won’t stop Nomura from fighting back, because the bank reportedly claims that Fannie and Freddie may not lose money on the Nomura bonds.

Nomura also said it conducted extensive reviews of the underwriting on mortgages packaged into securities, accurately disclosed risks and invested in riskier portions of the same assets that were sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

If the case goes to trial, Nomura will try to show that any misstatements didn’t cause losses, because that could reduce damages. According to the bank’s analysis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have so far earned about $1.6 billion in payments on their $2 billion investment, said the people.

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