Bank of America Boosts Financials

Brittney Barrett  |

Bank of America (BAC) agreed to reserve $14 billion as a means of paying out investors who purchased mortgage backed securities. The settlement consisted of $8.5 billion set aside for the initial pay out and an additional $5.5 billion to protect against future claims. The decision led Bank of America, long the focus of ire from investors for its involvement in the 2008 crash, to push up higher in morning trading.

The settlement marks the close of a nine-month battle between Bank of America and the 22 investors that together, held over $56 billion in disputed mortgage-backed securities. Among the investors, are several high profile Wall Street institutions including BlackRock Inc. (BLK), MetLife Inc. (MET) and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Compensation for MetLife is speculated to be as high as $200 million.

Though shares of Bank of America pushed higher, the financial institution is in for major second-quarter net losses as a consequence of the pay out. Losses are expected to range in severity from $8.6 billion to $9.1 billion, or 88 cents to 93 cents a share. Were is not for the charges and other miscellaneous elements, second-quarter profits would have, according to BoA reached as high as $3.7 billion or 33 cents per share.

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Prior to the settlemtn Bank of America and its Countrywide unit had said they were looking to resolve the whole of the Countrywide-issued first-lien residential mortgage-backed securitization repurchase exposure which includes 530 trusts totaling $424 billion.

The settlement helped push BlackRock and MetLife higher, but also prompted positive attention towards the other major financial institutions, pushing up shares of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) as well as Wells Fargo & Co. in the hours after the decision.

Not all the financial gains today were the result of the Bank of America news though. Another major development happened. Both Visa Inc. (V) and Mastercard (MA) experience double-digit gains after the Federal Reserve ruled in favor of fee caps that would not damage revenues as much as some had worried.The Fed determined it would reduce fees retailers are expected to pay for debit-card transactions to 21 cents alongside a conditional charge of one penny and a 0.05 percent total fee for fraud prevention. The current level is 44 cents but earlier in the year it was proposed that the fees would be reduced to 12 cents.

Financials, having reached what some analysts had determined a low point, began to look appealing for some. Warren Buffett expanded his position in Wells Fargo (WFC) earlier in the year, prompting considerable discussion as to whether the financial institutions appeared viable again. Some appear to be on board while others like. John Reed, the former chief executive of Citigroup Inc. (C) claims investors should be wary, complaining that pay and bonuses in the industry have spiraled out of control. He added that not only would he not invest in Citi, which did end lower today but that he wouldn’t purchase shares in  any financial services group.



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