Bank of America response to investors demanding putbacks draws fire
Calling Bank of America's (BAC) response to investors clamoring for some putback relief on $47 billion of failed private-label securities "indignant," one market participant thinks ultimately it's all bluster from the banking giant. Still, a contributor to consultancy firm Gerson Lehrman Group said this effort by Countrywide Financial investors, including BlackRock (BLK), Pimco, MetLife (MET), the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Freddie Mac, to require BofA to repurchase the poor-performing loans has serious deficiencies that may sink the whole process. "Namely, it failed to identify specific breaches of reps and warranties with respect to specific loan files or provide any evidence supporting those specific breaches," according to this anonymous contributor to GLG. In early September, Houston law firm Gibbs & Bruns said its clients, who represent more than a quarter of the voting rights of some residential mortgage-backed securities issued by Countrywide, demand Bank of America repurchase the loans. Attorneys for the bank fired back saying the letter contained "misleading statements," alleged claims that were "utterly baseless," and appeared to have been "written for an improper purpose," according to the GLG contributor. The lawyers want the plantiffs to provide "sufficient factual basis for the their allegations" and identify specific provisions they claim have been breached. They also claim the investors want Countrywide to "hasten foreclosures and reduce loan modifications." But the investors seek "simply to hold Countrywide to its contractual agreement to repurchase loans that it modifies as a cure for predatory lending," according to the GLG contributor. "Ultimately, the BofA letter contains a lot of bark, the only bite that I can discern is the demand for more specific information," he said. "Everything else is, well, politics as usual." Write to Jason Philyaw.