If BofA loses to MBIA, don’t blame Moynihan for spilling beans

If BofA loses to MBIA, don’t blame Moynihan for spilling beans

Based on the evidence in the bond insurer MBIA’s redacted brief on Bank of America’s successor liability for Countrywide’s deficient mortgage underwriting, the bank’s CEO, Brian Moynihan, remembers his legal training very well. MBIA and its lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan fought hard for the right to depose Moynihan, who was previously BofA’s general counsel. They took two runs at the CEO, who sat for deposition on two different days. But unless MBIA is (inexplicably) holding back revelations from his testimony, Moynihan did himself and the bank no harm.

The most substantive Moynihan testimony that MBIA cited came in the CEO’s response to questions about comments he made to Bloomberg and The New York Times in November and December of 2010. (“There’s a lot of people out there with a lot of thoughts about how we should solve this, but at the end of the day, we will pay for the things that Countrywide did,” Moynihan told Bloomberg. In the Times he said: “Our company bought (Countrywide) and we’ll stand up; we’ll clean it up.”) At his deposition in the MBIA case, Moynihan made the earth-shattering concessions that “it is important for public disclosures to be accurate,” and that he takes care to “speak carefully and make sure I say what I mean.” According to MBIA, Moynihan “reaffirmed that the statement (to The New York Times) was truthful and accurate when he made it (and) that ‘we want to clean (Countrywide) up, absolutely…. (That) was our intention then and that is our intention now.'”

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