As best we (and by “we,” we mean “Google”) can tell, the last time the name “Ambac Financial Group” appeared upon these digital pages was nearly 14 years ago, when the bond insurer was seeking some sweet bailout money at the height of the Global Financial Crisis™. One of the reasons Ambac needed said bailout was because it insured the mortgage-backed securities issued by one Countrywide Financial, the mortgages underlying which were not, as far as Ambac was concerned, quite up to snuff, which meant that when they went belly-up, Ambac had an awful lot of payments to make which, as far as it was concerned, it shouldn’t have.
Of course, access to taxpayer money was not the only recourse available to Ambac. It could also sue, and it did. And because the Constitution guarantees a right to a speedy trial, nearly 14 years later Ambac got its day in court. Of course, by the time Ambac (and everyone else) got around to filing that lawsuit a mere dozen years ago, Countrywide had ceased to be as such, swallowed by Bank of America in a deal it almost immediately regretted (and for good reason), and which it has continued to regret for, oh, 14 years (albeit not enough to change much about how the former Countrywide operated, but that is a story told in a different legal proceeding). And so it had to sue BofA, which leads us to the proceedings which began… last month.
Since then, things have moved a bit more quickly: Spooked either by the strength of Ambac’s case that Countrywide was “a factory where it literally churned out billions and billions of dollars in bad loans,” or by the prospect that the next financial crisis may be a bit worse than BofA chief Brian Moynihan let on, or simply by the desire to close the book on one painful recession before opening the book on the next one, Countrywide’s executors have decided to reap no further benefits of what it had sowed.
Bank of America Corp. agreed to pay $1.84 billion to settle claims by bond insurer Ambac Financial Group regarding residential mortgage-backed securities, clearing away the bank’s last major legal hangover stemming from the 2008 financial crisis…. BofA has already paid more than $50 billion to resolve regulatory probes and litigation stemming from its $4 billion purchase of Countrywide.
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