Banks May Fight Banks as Mortgage Investors Pursue Class Status
Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and other banks may pay more to resolve claims over their alleged roles in the collapse of a $2.3 trillion mortgage- backed securities market if sophisticated investors are allowed to sue as a group along with less savvy ones.
Class-action status allows investors to pool financial and legal resources, giving them greater leverage to win larger settlements or verdicts. The banks, however, have a court ruling on their side that may help fend off such blockbuster cases. It says class status is barred because some investors are too sophisticated — in fact, because some of them are other banks, including JPMorgan.
“It is possible to be both an alleged perpetrator and victim at the same time,” said Jacob S. Frenkel, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer now in private practice in Potomac, Maryland. “It’s unprecedented that you have the most sophisticated institutions as victims, to be in a position where their losses are so great that they have sued.”