(Corrects paragraph 2 to describe remaining claims as "close
to" and not "more than" half its case, corrects paragraph 10
figure to "$311.6 million" and not $417.6 million, corrects
paragraph 11 figure to "$403.9 million" and not $297.9 million)
* Close to half of case over $715 mln securities survives
* NCUA evaluates options on dismissed claims
By Jonathan Stempel and Aruna Viswanatha
April 10 A federal judge has narrowed a U.S.
credit union regulator's lawsuit against Credit Suisse Group AG
over the sale of $715.5 million of mortgage-backed
securities to failed corporate credit unions.
Monday's decision by U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum in
Kansas City, Kansas, nonetheless allows the National Credit
Union Administration to pursue close to half its case against
the Swiss bank.
It suggests that the regulator may be able to recover
considerably more than the $335.8 million it has already
obtained in settlements with four major banks.
The NCUA is pursuing 10 lawsuits on behalf of five credit
unions it seized in 2009 and 2010 over losses they suffered on
$14.1 billion of mortgage-backed securities amid a crumbling
Half of the securities were sold by JPMorgan Chase & Co
, or Bear Stearns Cos or Washington Mutual Inc, both of
which JPMorgan bought in 2008.
Wholesale credit unions suffered more pain than retail
counterparts because they had more leeway on how to invest.
The Credit Suisse case relates to the sale between 2005 and
2007 of 20 residential mortgage-backed securities to three
credit unions for which the NCUA board is now a conservator.
According to the regulator, Credit Suisse's offering
documents for the securities misleadingly represented that the
underlying loans were underwritten properly, and understated or
misstated the risks of those loans.
Credit Suisse countered that any faults were minor, and that
the credit unions were on notice that some loans could be risky.
But Lungstrum said the NCUA could pursue federal claims over
eight certificates for which the credit unions had spent $311.6
million, saying the regulator had "stated plausible claims, with
sufficient specificity," that securities laws were violated.
The judge nonetheless dismissed federal claims relating to
the other 12 certificates, which cost $403.9 million, and
California and Kansas state law claims on all 20 certificates.
He said this was because the NCUA missed deadlines to bring
some claims within one or two years of discovering problems, or
three or five years of the alleged sales or violations.
Nonetheless, he said some of the claims could be saved under
a federal "extender" statute that gives government entities
acting as conservators or liquidating agents more time to sue.
"We respectfully disagree with portions of the decision
finding some of our claims untimely, and we are evaluating our
options with regard to those portions," NCUA spokesman John
Credit Suisse spokesman Drew Benson declined to comment.
APRIL 29 HEARING
Eight of the 10 lawsuits are being handled in Kansas City,
near the former home of failed U.S. Central Federal Credit
Union, which bought some of the securities at issue.
An April 29 hearing has been scheduled for the eight cases,
including three against JPMorgan and one each against Credit
Suisse, Barclays Plc , Royal Bank of Scotland
Group Plc , UBS AG and Wells
Fargo & Co.
A case against Goldman Sachs Group Inc and another
case against RBS are being handled in California, the NCUA said.
Banks that have settled with the NCUA are Bank of America
Corp, Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG
and HSBC Holdings Plc . Bank of America's
$165 million settlement, announced on April 2, is the largest.
The case is National Credit Union Administration Board v.
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC et al, U.S. District Court,
District of Kansas, No. 12-02648.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Aruna Viswanatha
in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Jan Paschal)