In another settlement stemming from the mortgage meltdown, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay bond insurer Ambac Financial Group $995 million to settle claims alleging it misrepresented the quality of residential mortgages backing securities Ambac insured.
Ambac has been under pressure from some shareholders to settle $4 billion in RMBS-related insurance claims and lawsuits against JPMorgan, Countrywide Home Loans, and Bank of America. The claims against JPMorgan sought recovery of all of Ambac’s past and future payments of principal and interest on approximately $3.3 billion in mortgage-backed securities sponsored by an indirect subsidiary of the bank.
As part of the settlement, Ambac will withdraw its objection to JPMorgan’s $4.5 billion settlement with investors who lost money on mortgage-backed securities.
The settlement “validates our resolve and reinforces our confidence in our remaining RMBS-related cases,” Ambac CEO Nader Tavakoli said in a news release, adding that it would have a positive impact on the insurer’s ability to pay claims.
According to Reuters, Ambac has resisted calls to speed up its payment of insurance claims, citing concerns that it wouldn’t be able to meet liabilities that extend out to 2054.
JPMorgan said the agreement would not have a material effect on its first-quarter earnings. “The settlement underscores how Wall Street is still shaking off the legacy of the U.S. subprime crisis, during which mortgages were sold to people who could not afford them and then repackaged for investors without an adequate explanation of how risky they were,” Reuters said.
Goldman Sachs Group said earlier this month that it would pay regulators over $5 billion to settle claims that it misled mortgage bond investors during the financial crisis.
Ambac shares were up 13% at $13.50 in trading Tuesday, while JPMorgan was up 2.3% at $56.95.