NEW YORK (11/19/13)--JP Morgan reached a preliminary agreement on a $4.5 billion settlement with institutional investors who accuse the bank of misrepresenting 330 different mortgage-backed security trusts.
Representatives of the 21 investors said that they will back the deal, and will ask trustees--who can still ask a judge to approve of the settlement--to accept it. The terms of the settlement will be valid until Jan. 15, 2014, JP Morgan said in a Friday release.
The claims revolve around mortgage-backed securities sold by JP Morgan and Bear Stearns between 2005 and 2008. JP Morgan acquired Bear Stears in March 2008, as the firm flirted with bankruptcy.
Claims surrounding mortgage-backed security trusts sold by Washington Mutual--another institution acquired by JP Morgan amid the global financial meltdown, in September 2008--remain unsettled.
JP Morgan's recent spate of legal woes, alleged unethical practices and subsequent public image problems made headlines last week, when the bank launched a social media campaign that was hijacked and roundly mocked by social media users (News Now Nov. 15).
JP Morgan late Wednesday cancelled a Twitter live Q&A forum it had scheduled for Thursday under its #AskJPM Twitter hashtag when Twitter users began inundating the hashtag with the type of questions many banks--especially one that has been the target of several Justice Department investigations--wouldn't want to answer.
WASHINGTON (11/19/13)--A home builders' trade association released data on Monday that shows industry confidence unchanged in November.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index this month held steady at a downwardly revised level of 54.
The November survey also showed an index of current sales conditions unwavering at 58, and measures of expectations for future sales and traffic of prospective buyers both dipping slightly by one point--to 60 and 42, respectively.
The index, broken down geographically, showed most fluctuation in the Midwest, where it dropped three points to 60. It did not change in the South or West, holding steady at 56 and 60, and increased by one to 39 in the Northeast.
NAHB executives said that the U.S. Congress' inability to come up with a lasting budget is undermining confidence in the industry.
The trade association has been conducting the survey--measuring builder perceptions of single family home sales and expectations for a half-year--for 25 years.