(Adds state pension liabilities, quote, details on credit
By Megan Davies and Tim Reid
NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES Aug 21 A clutch of states
including California, New York and Illinois will share in a
mini-bonanza from the $16.65 billion settlement agreed by Bank
of America Corp on Thursday.
The settlement announced by the U.S. Department of Justice
calls for the second-largest U.S. bank to pay a $9.65 billion
cash penalty on charges that it misled investors into buying
troubled mortgage-backed securities, and provide $7 billion of
relief to struggling homeowners and communities.
Six states will reap nearly $1 billion between them as well
as benefiting from cash for consumer relief credits - to be put
towards items such as principal reductions for certain types of
Federal Housing Administration mortgages.
New York and California will both get $300 million in
damages, while Illinois receives $200 million, Maryland gets $75
million, Delaware gets $45 million and Kentucky receives $23
million, according to the individual states' attorneys generals.
"One of the benefits of a resolution like this is that we
can actually begin to compensate public pension funds that ...
were victims of this, as well as help to bring some ... relief
to struggling home owners and other consumers who were victims
of the financial crisis," said Tony West, Associate Attorney
General of the United States.
All the states gaining cash have unfunded pension
liabilities, according to think tank the Pew Charitable Trusts.
California has obligations of $131 billion, New York has $21.5
billion, Illinois has $94.6 billion, Maryland has $20.9 billion,
Delaware has $1 billion and Kentucky has $21.4 billion.
California, Illinois, Maryland and Kentucky said the damages
would reimburse or go towards pension funds.
"Noone is going to upgrade a credit or change the borrowing
picture as a result, but it could cushion the situation in the
difficult task of trying to find money to make up for deficits,"
said Richard Ciccarone, President & CEO of Merritt Research.
The settlement eclipses the respective $13 billion and $7
billion accords that JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup
Inc recently reached to resolve similar claims, but is
dwarfed by a $25 billion settlement in 2012 between five of the
U.S.'s biggest lenders and 49 states over mortgage malpractice.
Still, some think the settlements do not make up for the
damage caused by the 2007-9 financial crisis, sparked by the use
of subprime mortgages.
"In the grand scheme of things ... even a settlement like
this doesn't begin to compensate the adverse impact on states or
the broad population," said James Parrott, chief economist at
the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York.
Dennis Kelleher, a former securities and financial markets
attorney who runs consumer advocate group Better Markets, says
promises made under the 2012 settlement have in many cases not
been met and has similar misgivings about Thursday's deal.
"There is no disclosure of the amount of harm done to
investors, consumers or clients," Kelleher said. "Once again the
Department of Justice has accepted a large dollar amount to give
immunity to a Wall Street bank."
(Additional reporting by Aruna Viswanatha and Lisa Lambert in
Washington, Hilary Russ in New York and Karen Pierog in Chicago;
Editing by Bernard Orr)