Commitments and Contingencies
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2016
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|Commitments and Contingencies||
Commitments and Contingencies
In the normal course of business, the Corporation enters into a number of off-balance sheet commitments. These commitments expose the Corporation to varying degrees of credit and market risk and are subject to the same credit and market risk limitation reviews as those instruments recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheet.
Credit Extension Commitments
The Corporation enters into commitments to extend credit such as loan commitments, SBLCs and commercial letters of credit to meet the financing needs of its customers. The table below includes the notional amount of unfunded legally binding lending commitments net of amounts distributed (e.g., syndicated or participated) to other financial institutions. The distributed amounts were $12.1 billion and $14.3 billion at December 31, 2016 and 2015. At December 31, 2016, the carrying value of these commitments, excluding commitments accounted for under the fair value option, was $779 million, including deferred revenue of $17 million and a reserve for unfunded lending commitments of $762 million. At December 31, 2015, the comparable amounts were $664 million, $18 million and $646 million, respectively. The carrying value of these commitments is classified in accrued expenses and other liabilities on the Consolidated Balance Sheet.
The table below also includes the notional amount of commitments of $7.0 billion and $10.9 billion at December 31, 2016 and 2015 that are accounted for under the fair value option. However, the table below excludes cumulative net fair value of $173 million and $658 million on these commitments, which is classified in accrued expenses and other liabilities. For more information regarding the Corporation’s loan commitments accounted for under the fair value option, see Note 21 – Fair Value Option.
Legally binding commitments to extend credit generally have specified rates and maturities. Certain of these commitments have adverse change clauses that help to protect the Corporation against deterioration in the borrower’s ability to pay.
At December 31, 2016 and 2015, the Corporation had commitments to purchase loans (e.g., residential mortgage and commercial real estate) of $767 million and $729 million, and commitments to purchase commercial loans of $636 million and $874 million, which upon settlement will be included in loans or LHFS.
At both December 31, 2016 and 2015, the Corporation had commitments to purchase commodities, primarily liquefied natural gas of $1.9 billion, which upon settlement will be included in trading account assets.
At December 31, 2016 and 2015, the Corporation had commitments to enter into resale and forward-dated resale and securities borrowing agreements of $48.9 billion and $88.6 billion, and commitments to enter into forward-dated repurchase and securities lending agreements of $24.4 billion and $53.7 billion. These commitments expire within the next 12 months.
The Corporation has entered into agreements to purchase retail automotive loans from certain auto loan originators. These agreements provide for stated purchase amounts and contain cancellation provisions that allow the Corporation to terminate its commitment to purchase at any time, with a minimum notification period. At December 31, 2016 and 2015, the Corporation’s maximum purchase commitment was $475 million and $1.2 billion. In addition, the Corporation has a commitment to originate or purchase auto loans and leases from a strategic partner up to $2.4 billion in 2017, with this commitment expiring on December 31, 2017.
The Corporation is a party to operating leases for certain of its premises and equipment. Commitments under these leases are approximately $2.3 billion, $2.1 billion, $1.8 billion, $1.6 billion and $1.3 billion for 2017 through 2021, respectively, and $4.5 billion in the aggregate for all years thereafter.
Bank-owned Life Insurance Book Value Protection
The Corporation sells products that offer book value protection to insurance carriers who offer group life insurance policies to corporations, primarily banks. The book value protection is provided on portfolios of intermediate investment-grade fixed-income securities and is intended to cover any shortfall in the event that policyholders surrender their policies and market value is below book value. These guarantees are recorded as derivatives and carried at fair value in the trading portfolio. At December 31, 2016 and 2015, the notional amount of these guarantees totaled $13.9 billion and $13.8 billion. At December 31, 2016 and 2015, the Corporation’s maximum exposure related to these guarantees totaled $3.2 billion and $3.1 billion, with estimated maturity dates between 2031 and 2039. The net fair value including the fee receivable associated with these guarantees was $4 million and $12 million at December 31, 2016 and 2015, and reflects the probability of surrender as well as the multiple structural protection features in the contracts.
In the ordinary course of business, the Corporation enters into various agreements that contain indemnifications, such as tax indemnifications, whereupon payment may become due if certain external events occur, such as a change in tax law. The indemnification clauses are often standard contractual terms and were entered into in the normal course of business based on an assessment that the risk of loss would be remote. These agreements typically contain an early termination clause that permits the Corporation to exit the agreement upon these events. The maximum potential future payment under indemnification agreements is difficult to assess for several reasons, including the occurrence of an external event, the inability to predict future changes in tax and other laws, the difficulty in determining how such laws would apply to parties in contracts, the absence of exposure limits contained in standard contract language and the timing of the early termination clause. Historically, any payments made under these guarantees have been de minimis. The Corporation has assessed the probability of making such payments in the future as remote.
In accordance with credit and debit card association rules, the Corporation sponsors merchant processing servicers that process credit and debit card transactions on behalf of various merchants. In connection with these services, a liability may arise in the event of a billing dispute between the merchant and a cardholder that is ultimately resolved in the cardholder’s favor. If the merchant defaults on its obligation to reimburse the cardholder, the cardholder, through its issuing bank, generally has until six months after the date of the transaction to present a chargeback to the merchant processor, which is primarily liable for any losses on covered transactions. However, if the merchant processor fails to meet its obligation to reimburse the cardholder for disputed transactions, then the Corporation, as the sponsor, could be held liable for the disputed amount. In 2016 and 2015, the sponsored entities processed and settled $731.4 billion and $669.0 billion of transactions and recorded losses of $33 million and $22 million. A significant portion of this activity was processed by a joint venture in which the Corporation holds a 49 percent ownership, and is recorded in other assets on the Consolidated Balance Sheet and in All Other. At December 31, 2016 and 2015, the carrying value of the Corporation's investment in the merchant services joint venture was $2.9 billion and $3.0 billion. At December 31, 2016 and 2015, the sponsored merchant processing servicers held as collateral $188 million and $181 million of merchant escrow deposits which may be used to offset amounts due from the individual merchants.
The Corporation believes the maximum potential exposure for chargebacks would not exceed the total amount of merchant transactions processed through Visa and MasterCard for the last six months, which represents the claim period for the cardholder, plus any outstanding delayed-delivery transactions. As of December 31, 2016 and 2015, the maximum potential exposure for sponsored transactions totaled $325.7 billion and $277.1 billion. However, the Corporation believes that the maximum potential exposure is not representative of the actual potential loss exposure and does not expect to make material payments in connection with these guarantees.
Exchange and Clearing House Member Guarantees
The Corporation is a member of various securities and derivative exchanges and clearinghouses, both in the U.S. and other countries. As a member, the Corporation may be required to pay a pro-rata share of the losses incurred by some of these organizations as a result of another member default and under other loss scenarios. The Corporation’s potential obligations may be limited to its membership interests in such exchanges and clearinghouses, to the amount (or multiple) of the Corporation’s contribution to the guarantee fund or, in limited instances, to the full pro-rata share of the residual losses after applying the guarantee fund. The Corporation’s maximum potential exposure under these membership agreements is difficult to estimate; however, the potential for the Corporation to be required to make these payments is remote.
Prime Brokerage and Securities Clearing Services
In connection with its prime brokerage and clearing businesses, the Corporation performs securities clearance and settlement services with other brokerage firms and clearinghouses on behalf of its clients. Under these arrangements, the Corporation stands ready to meet the obligations of its clients with respect to securities transactions. The Corporation’s obligations in this respect are secured by the assets in the clients’ accounts and the accounts of their customers as well as by any proceeds received from the transactions cleared and settled by the firm on behalf of clients or their customers. The Corporation’s maximum potential exposure under these arrangements is difficult to estimate; however, the potential for the Corporation to incur material losses pursuant to these arrangements is remote.
The Corporation has entered into additional guarantee agreements and commitments, including sold risk participation swaps, liquidity facilities, lease-end obligation agreements, partial credit guarantees on certain leases, real estate joint venture guarantees, divested business commitments and sold put options that require gross settlement. The maximum potential future payment under these agreements was approximately $6.7 billion and $6.0 billion at December 31, 2016 and 2015. The estimated maturity dates of these obligations extend up to 2040. The Corporation has made no material payments under these guarantees.
In the normal course of business, the Corporation periodically guarantees the obligations of its affiliates in a variety of transactions including ISDA-related transactions and non-ISDA related transactions such as commodities trading, repurchase agreements, prime brokerage agreements and other transactions.
Payment Protection Insurance Claims Matter
In the U.K., the Corporation previously sold PPI through its international card services business to credit card customers and consumer loan customers. PPI covers a consumer’s loan or debt repayment if certain events occur such as loss of job or illness. In response to an elevated level of customer complaints across the industry, heightened media coverage and pressure from consumer advocacy groups, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigated and raised concerns about the way some companies have handled complaints related to the sale of these insurance policies. On December 20, 2016, the Corporation entered into an agreement to sell its non-U.S. consumer credit card business to a third party. Subject to regulatory approval, this transaction is expected to close by mid-2017. After closing, the Corporation will retain substantially all PPI exposure above existing reserves. The Corporation has considered this exposure in its estimate of a small after-tax gain on the sale. In August 2016, the FCA issued a further consultation paper on the treatment of certain PPI claims and expects to finalize guidance by the first quarter of 2017.
The reserve for PPI claims was $252 million and $360 million at December 31, 2016 and 2015. The Corporation recorded expense of $145 million and $319 million in 2016 and 2015.
In 2016, the FDIC implemented a surcharge of 4.5 cents per $100 of their assessment base, after making certain adjustments, on insured depository institutions with total assets of $10 billion or more. The FDIC expects the surcharge to be in effect for approximately two years. If the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) reserve ratio does not reach 1.35 percent by December 31, 2018, the FDIC will impose a shortfall assessment on any bank subject to the surcharge. The surcharge increased the Corporation’s deposit insurance assessment for 2016 by approximately $200 million, and the Corporation expects approximately $100 million of expense per quarter related to the surcharge in the future. The FDIC has also adopted regulations that establish a long-term target DIF ratio of greater than two percent, which would be expected to impose additional deposit insurance costs on the Corporation. Deposit insurance assessment rates are subject to change by the FDIC, and can be impacted by the overall economy, the stability of the banking industry as a whole, and regulations or regulatory interpretations.
Litigation and Regulatory Matters
In the ordinary course of business, the Corporation and its subsidiaries are routinely defendants in or parties to many pending and threatened legal, regulatory and governmental actions and proceedings.
In view of the inherent difficulty of predicting the outcome of such matters, particularly where the claimants seek very large or indeterminate damages or where the matters present novel legal theories or involve a large number of parties, the Corporation generally cannot predict what the eventual outcome of the pending matters will be, what the timing of the ultimate resolution of these matters will be, or what the eventual loss, fines or penalties related to each pending matter may be.
In accordance with applicable accounting guidance, the Corporation establishes an accrued liability when those matters present loss contingencies that are both probable and estimable. In such cases, there may be an exposure to loss in excess of any amounts accrued. As a matter develops, the Corporation, in conjunction with any outside counsel handling the matter, evaluates on an ongoing basis whether such matter presents a loss contingency that is probable and estimable. Once the loss contingency is deemed to be both probable and estimable, the Corporation will establish an accrued liability and record a corresponding amount of litigation-related expense. The Corporation continues to monitor the matter for further developments that could affect the amount of the accrued liability that has been previously established. Excluding expenses of internal and external legal service providers, litigation-related expense of $1.2 billion was recognized for both 2016 and 2015.
For a limited number of the matters disclosed in this Note, for which a loss, whether in excess of a related accrued liability or where there is no accrued liability, is reasonably possible in future periods, the Corporation is able to estimate a range of possible loss. In determining whether it is possible to estimate a range of possible loss, the Corporation reviews and evaluates its matters on an ongoing basis, in conjunction with any outside counsel handling the matter, in light of potentially relevant factual and legal developments. In cases in which the Corporation possesses sufficient appropriate information to estimate a range of possible loss, that estimate is aggregated and disclosed below. There may be other disclosed matters for which a loss is probable or reasonably possible but such an estimate of the range of possible loss may not be possible. For those matters where an estimate of the range of possible loss is possible, management currently estimates the aggregate range of possible loss is $0 to $1.5 billion in excess of the accrued liability (if any) related to those matters. This estimated range of possible loss is based upon currently available information and is subject to significant judgment and a variety of assumptions, and known and unknown uncertainties. The matters underlying the estimated range will change from time to time, and actual results may vary significantly from the current estimate. Therefore, this estimated range of possible loss represents what the Corporation believes to be an estimate of possible loss only for certain matters meeting these criteria. It does not represent the Corporation’s maximum loss exposure.
Information is provided below regarding the nature of all of these contingencies and, where specified, the amount of the claim associated with these loss contingencies. Based on current knowledge, management does not believe that loss contingencies arising from pending matters, including the matters described herein, will have a material adverse effect on the consolidated financial position or liquidity of the Corporation. However, in light of the inherent uncertainties involved in these matters, some of which are beyond the Corporation’s control, and the very large or indeterminate damages sought in some of these matters, an adverse outcome in one or more of these matters could be material to the Corporation’s results of operations or liquidity for any particular reporting period.
Ambac Bond Insurance Litigation
Ambac Assurance Corporation and the Segregated Account of Ambac Assurance Corporation (together, Ambac) have filed five separate lawsuits against the Corporation and its subsidiaries relating to bond insurance policies Ambac provided on certain securitized pools of HELOCs, first-lien subprime home equity loans, fixed-rate second-lien mortgage loans and negative amortization pay option adjustable-rate mortgage loans. Ambac alleges that they have paid or will pay claims as a result of defaults in the underlying loans and assert that the defendants misrepresented the characteristics of the underlying loans and/or breached certain contractual representations and warranties regarding the underwriting and servicing of the loans. In those actions where the Corporation is named as a defendant, Ambac contends the Corporation is liable on various successor and vicarious liability theories.
Ambac v. Countrywide I
The Corporation, Countrywide and other Countrywide entities are named as defendants in an action filed on September 29, 2010 in New York Supreme Court. Ambac claims damages in excess of $2.2 billion, plus unspecified punitive damages.
On October 22, 2015, the New York Supreme Court granted in part and denied in part Countrywide’s motion for summary judgment and Ambac’s motion for partial summary judgment. Among other things, the court granted summary judgment dismissing Ambac’s claim for rescissory damages and denied summary judgment regarding Ambac’s claims for fraud and breach of the insurance agreements. The court also denied the Corporation’s motion for summary judgment and granted in part Ambac’s motion for partial summary judgment on Ambac’s successor-liability claims with respect to a single element of its de facto merger claim. The court denied summary judgment on the other elements of Ambac’s de facto merger claim and the other successor-liability claims. The parties filed cross-appeals with the First Department, which are pending.
Ambac v. Countrywide II
On December 30, 2014, Ambac filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court against the same defendants, claiming fraudulent inducement against Countrywide, and successor and vicarious liability against the Corporation. Ambac claims damages in excess of $600 million plus punitive damages. On December 19, 2016, the court granted in part and denied in part Countrywide's motion to dismiss the complaint.
Ambac v. Countrywide III
On December 30, 2014, Ambac filed an action in Wisconsin state court against Countrywide. The complaint seeks damages in excess of $350 million plus punitive damages. Countrywide has challenged the Wisconsin courts' jurisdiction over it. Following a ruling by the lower court that jurisdiction did not exist, the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin reversed. Countrywide sought review by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which has agreed to decide the issue. The appeal is pending.
Ambac v. Countrywide IV
On July 21, 2015, Ambac filed an action in New York Supreme Court against Countrywide asserting the same claims for fraudulent inducement that Ambac asserted in Ambac v. Countrywide III. Ambac simultaneously moved to stay the action pending resolution of its appeal in Ambac v. Countrywide III. Countrywide moved to dismiss the complaint. On September 20, 2016, the court granted Ambac's motion to stay the action pending resolution of the Wisconsin Supreme Court appeal in Ambac v. Countrywide III.
Ambac v. First Franklin
On April 16, 2012, Ambac filed an action against BANA, First Franklin and various Merrill Lynch entities, including Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S), in New York Supreme Court relating to guaranty insurance Ambac provided on a First Franklin securitization sponsored by Merrill Lynch. The complaint alleges fraudulent inducement and breach of contract, including breach of contract claims against BANA based upon its servicing of the loans in the securitization. The complaint alleges that Ambac has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in claims and has accrued and continues to accrue tens of millions of dollars in additional claims. Ambac seeks as damages the total claims it has paid and its projected future claims payment obligations, as well as specific performance of defendants’ contractual repurchase obligations.
On July 19, 2013, the court granted in part and denied in part defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint. On September 17, 2015, the court granted Ambac’s motion to strike defendants’ affirmative defense of unclean hands.
ATM Access Fee Litigation
On January 10, 2012, a putative consumer class action was filed against Visa, Inc., MasterCard, Inc., and several financial institutions, including Bank of America Corporation and Bank of America, N.A. (collectively “Bank of America”), alleging that surcharges paid at bank ATMs are artificially inflated by Visa and MasterCard rules and regulations. The network rules are alleged to be the product of a conspiracy between Visa, MasterCard and banks in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Plaintiffs seek both injunctive relief, and monetary damages equal to treble the damages they claim to have sustained as a result of the alleged violations.
Bank of America, along with all other co-defendants, moved to dismiss the complaint on January 30, 2012. On February 13, 2013, the District Court granted the motion and dismissed the case. The plaintiffs moved the District Court for leave to file amended complaints, and on December 19, 2013, the District Court denied the motions to amend.
On January 14, 2014, plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the “D.C. Circuit”). On August 4, 2015, the D.C. Circuit vacated the District Court’s decision and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings. On September 3, 2015, the networks and bank defendants filed petitions for re-hearing or re-hearing en banc before the D.C. Circuit. In a per curium order, the D.C. Circuit denied the petitions on September 28, 2015. On January 27, 2016, defendants filed a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted defendants’ petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of the decision of the D.C. Circuit. On November 17, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that the writ of certiorari be dismissed as improvidently granted.
Deposit Insurance Assessment
On January 9, 2017, the FDIC filed suit against BANA in federal district court in the District of Columbia alleging failure to pay a December 15, 2016 invoice for additional deposit insurance assessments and interest in the amount of $542 million for the quarters ending June 30, 2013 through December 31, 2014. The FDIC asserts this claim based on BANA’s alleged underreporting of counterparty exposures that resulted in underpayment of assessments for those quarters. The FDIC also has raised the prospect that it will seek to assert that BANA underpaid its assessments for the quarters ending June 30, 2012 through March 31, 2013. BANA disagrees with the FDIC’s interpretation of the regulations as they existed during the relevant time period, and intends to defend itself against the FDIC’s claims.
Interchange and Related Litigation
In 2005, a group of merchants filed a series of putative class actions and individual actions directed at interchange fees associated with Visa and MasterCard payment card transactions. These actions, which were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York under the caption In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Anti-Trust Litigation (Interchange), named Visa, MasterCard and several banks and bank holding companies, including the Corporation, as defendants. Plaintiffs allege that defendants conspired to fix the level of default interchange rates and that certain rules of Visa and MasterCard related to merchant acceptance of payment cards at the point of sale were unreasonable restraints of trade. Plaintiffs sought unspecified damages and injunctive relief. On October 19, 2012, defendants settled the matter.
The settlement provided for, among other things, (i) payments by defendants to the class and individual plaintiffs totaling approximately $6.6 billion, allocated proportionately to each defendant based upon various loss-sharing agreements; (ii) distribution to class merchants of an amount equal to 10 basis points (bps) of default interchange across all Visa and MasterCard credit card transactions for a period of eight consecutive months, which otherwise would have been paid to issuers and which effectively reduces credit interchange for that period of time; and (iii) modifications to certain Visa and MasterCard rules regarding merchant point of sale practices.
The court granted final approval of the class settlement agreement on December 13, 2013. On June 30, 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the judgment approving the settlement and remanded the case for further proceedings. On November 23, 2016, counsel for the class filed a certiorari petition with the United States Supreme Court seeking review of the Second Circuit decision. As a result of the Second Circuit’s decision, the Interchange class case was remanded to the district court, and the parties are in the process of coordinating the case with the already-pending actions brought by merchants who had opted out of the class settlement, as described below.
Following district court approval of the class settlement agreement, a number of class members opted out of the settlement, and many filed individual actions against the defendants. The Corporation was named as a defendant in one such individual action, as well as one action brought by cardholders (the “Cardholder Action”). In addition, a number of these individual actions were filed that do not name the Corporation as a defendant. As a result of various loss-sharing agreements, however, the Corporation remains liable for any settlement or judgment in these individual suits where it is not named as a defendant. Now that Interchange has been remanded to the district court, these individual actions will be coordinated as individual merchant lawsuits alongside the Interchange class case.
On November 26, 2014, the court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the Sherman Act claim in the Cardholder Action. Plaintiffs appealed that dismissal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. On October 17, 2016, the Second Circuit issued a summary order affirming the dismissal and, on October 31, 2016, it denied plaintiffs' petition for rehearing en banc.
LIBOR, Other Reference Rates, Foreign Exchange (FX) and Bond Trading Matters
Government authorities in the Americas, Europe and the Asia Pacific region continue to conduct investigations and make inquiries of a significant number of FX market participants, including the Corporation, regarding FX market participants’ conduct and systems and controls. Government authorities also continue to conduct investigations concerning conduct and systems and controls of panel banks in connection with the setting of LIBOR and other reference rates as well as the trading of government, sovereign, supranational, and agency bonds. The Corporation is responding to and cooperating with these investigations.
In addition, the Corporation, BANA and certain Merrill Lynch entities have been named as defendants along with most of the other LIBOR panel banks in a number of individual and putative class actions relating to defendants’ U.S. Dollar LIBOR contributions. All cases naming the Corporation and its affiliates relating to U.S. Dollar LIBOR have been or are in the process of being consolidated for pre-trial purposes in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Plaintiffs allege that they held or transacted in U.S. Dollar LIBOR-based financial instruments and sustained losses as a result of collusion or manipulation by defendants regarding the setting of U.S. Dollar LIBOR. Plaintiffs assert a variety of claims, including antitrust, Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO), Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), common law fraud, and breach of contract claims, and seek compensatory, treble and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
Beginning in March 2013, in a series of rulings, the court dismissed antitrust, RICO, Exchange Act and certain state law claims, and substantially limited the scope of CEA and various other claims. As to the Corporation and BANA, the court also dismissed manipulation claims based on alleged trader conduct. On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of the antitrust claims and remanded for further proceedings in the district court, and on December 20, 2016, the district court dismissed certain plaintiffs’ antitrust claims in their entirety and substantially limited the scope of the remaining antitrust claims.
On October 20, 2016, defendants filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Second Circuit’s decision and, on January 17, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the defendants’ petition. Certain antitrust, CEA, and state law claims remain pending in the district court against the Corporation, BANA and certain Merrill Lynch entities, and the court is continuing to consider motions regarding them. Certain plaintiffs are also pursuing an appeal in the Second Circuit of the dismissal of their Exchange Act and state law claims.
In addition, the Corporation, BANA and MLPF&S were named as defendants along with other FX market participants in a putative class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in which plaintiffs allege that they sustained losses as a result of the defendants’ alleged conspiracy to manipulate the prices of over-the-counter FX transactions and FX transactions on an exchange. Plaintiffs assert antitrust claims and claims for violations of the CEA and seek compensatory and treble damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief. On October 1, 2015, the Corporation, BANA and MLPF&S executed a final settlement agreement, in which they agreed to pay $187.5 million to settle the litigation. The settlement is subject to final court approval.
Mortgage-backed Securities Litigation
The Corporation and its affiliates, Countrywide entities and their affiliates, and Merrill Lynch entities and their affiliates have been named as defendants in cases relating to their various roles in MBS offerings. These cases generally allege that the registration statements, prospectuses and prospectus supplements for securities issued by securitization trusts contained material misrepresentations and omissions, in violation of the Securities Act of 1933 and/or state securities laws and other state statutory laws and/or common law. In addition, certain of these entities have received claims for contractual indemnification related to MBS securities actions, including claims from underwriters of MBS that were issued by these entities, and from underwriters and issuers of MBS backed by loans originated by these entities.
These cases generally involve allegations of false and misleading statements regarding: (i) the process by which the properties that served as collateral for the mortgage loans underlying the MBS were appraised; (ii) the percentage of equity that mortgage borrowers had in their homes; (iii) the borrowers’ ability to repay their mortgage loans; (iv) the underwriting practices by which those mortgage loans were originated; and (v) the ratings given to the different tranches of MBS by rating agencies. Plaintiffs in these cases generally seek unspecified compensatory and/or rescissory damages, unspecified costs and legal fees.
Mortgage Repurchase Litigation
U.S. Bank - Harborview Repurchase Litigation
On August 29, 2011, U.S. Bank, National Association (U.S. Bank), as trustee for the HarborView Mortgage Loan Trust 2005-10 (the Trust), a mortgage pool backed by loans originated by Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (CHL), filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court, in a case entitled U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for HarborView Mortgage Loan Trust, Series 2005-10 v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (dba Bank of America Home Loans), Bank of America Corporation, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Bank of America, N.A., and NB Holdings Corporation. U.S. Bank asserts that, as a result of alleged misrepresentations by CHL in connection with its sale of the loans, defendants must repurchase all the loans in the pool, or in the alternative, that it must repurchase a subset of those loans as to which U.S. Bank alleges that defendants have refused specific repurchase demands.
On December 5, 2016, certain certificate-holders in the Trust agreed to settle the claims in an amount not material to the Corporation, subject to acceptance by U.S. Bank.
U.S. Bank - SURF/OWNIT Repurchase Litigation
On August 29, 2014 and September 2, 2014, U.S. Bank, solely in its capacity as Trustee for seven securitization trusts (the Trusts), served seven summonses with notice commencing actions against First Franklin Financial Corporation, Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Investors, Inc. (MLMI), and Ownit Mortgage Solutions Inc. in New York Supreme Court. The summonses advance breach of contract claims alleging that defendants breached representations and warranties related to loans securitized in the Trusts. The summonses allege that defendants failed to repurchase breaching mortgage loans from the Trusts, and seek specific performance of defendants’ alleged obligation to repurchase breaching loans, declaratory judgment, compensatory, rescissory and other damages, and indemnity.
On February 25, 2015 and March 11, 2015, U.S. Bank served complaints regarding four of the seven Trusts. On December 7, 2015, the court granted in part and denied in part defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaints. The court dismissed claims for breach of representations and warranties against MLMI, dismissed U.S. Bank’s claims for indemnity and attorneys’ fees, and deferred a ruling regarding defendants’ alleged failure to provide notice of alleged representations and warranties breaches, but upheld the complaints in all other respects. On December 28, 2016, U.S. Bank filed a complaint with respect to a fifth Trust.
Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System
The Corporation and several current and former officers were named as defendants in a putative class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entitled Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System v. Bank of America, et al.
Through a series of complaints first filed on February 2, 2011, plaintiff sued on behalf of all persons who acquired the Corporation’s common stock between February 27, 2009 and October 19, 2010 and “Common Equivalent Securities” sold in a December 2009 offering. The amended complaint asserted claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, alleging, among other things that the Corporation’s public statements: (i) concealed problems in the Corporation’s mortgage servicing business resulting from the widespread use of the Mortgage Electronic Recording System; and (ii) failed to disclose the Corporation’s exposure to mortgage repurchase claims.
On August 12, 2015, the parties agreed to settle the claims for $335 million. On December 27, 2016, the court granted final approval to the settlement.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef