Taking another step to resolve claims arising from its sales of toxic mortgage-backed securities, Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to pay the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency $5.5 billion.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit that the FHFA filed in 2011 alleging violations of federal and state securities laws in connection with the sale of $32 billion in mortgages packaged as residential RMBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007.
RBS Chief Executive Ross McEwan said the agreement was “an important step forward in resolving one of the most significant legacy matters facing RBS and is further evidence of the determination of the bank’s leadership to put our remaining issues behind us.”
“This settlement is a stark reminder of what happened to this bank before the financial crisis, and the heavy price paid for its pursuit of global ambitions,” he added.
RBS was the largest non-U.S. bank engaged in the packaging and sale of mortgages as RMBS. In September 2016, it agreed to a $1.1 billion settlement with the U.S. National Credit Union Administration over sales to two corporate credit unions and a deal with the Department of Justice is expected later this year.
The FHFA filed RMBS-related lawsuits against 18 financial institutions. The settlement with RBS is the 17th — and one of the largest — in the litigation, with one case having gone to trial.
Analysts at Jefferies said the settlement was $1 billion more than they had been expecting, although it is largely covered by existing provisions. At the end of its first quarter, RBS held a provision of $8.3 billion against RMBS, of which $4.55 billion related to FHFA.
“It’s never a great experience as a CEO to be writing such a large check … Unfortunately, this is the price we’re paying to get this organization into a much better shape,” McEwan said in a conference call with analysts and investors.
According to The Guardian, a settlement with the Department of Justice could cost RBS another 9 billion pounds ($11.6 billion).