Mortgage Lawsuits by FHFA May Hinge on Appeal

A series of lawsuits that charge some of the nation’s biggest banks with misleading investors in connection with the sale of hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities may come down to a question of timing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit on Monday was slated to hear arguments in an appeal brought by UBS (UBS) in its legal dispute with the Federal Housing Finance Agency. It claims that the FHFA waited too long to file suits that charged UBS and other underwriters with misconduct in the sale of securities backed by residential mortgage loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchased over a roughly two-year period beginning in 2005.

The FHFA sued UBS in July 2011 as part of its role as conservator for Fannie and Freddie. The agency alleges that UBS and other defendants falsely asserted that the underlying mortgages complied with certain underwriting guidelines and standards. The suit against UBS concerns $6.4 billion in mortgage-backed securities purchased by Fannie and Freddie in 23 securitizations by the bank.

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