HSBC to pay $765 million to settle crisis-era mortgage probe

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HSBC will pay $765 million to settle allegations that it sold defective residential mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, resolving one of the London-based bank’s last significant legal challenges with the U.S. government.

The sum, announced Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer in Colorado, is substantially lower than the billions paid by other banks to resolve misconduct linked to these toxic securities. HSBC wasn’t a major player in the market.

An airplane passing the offices of HSBC in the Canary Wharf district in London.

An airplane passing the offices of HSBC in the Canary Wharf district in London.

Bloomberg News

With Wells Fargo’s agreement in August to pay $2 billion and Royal Bank of Scotland’s deal to pay $4.9 billion that same month, the U.S. Department of Justice is now near the end of its decade-long effort to extract penalties for the conduct that led to the financial crisis of 2008.

The biggest settlements, struck in 2013 and 2014, called for JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America to pay $13 billion and $17 billion, respectively, to resolve their cases.

Unlike the prior settlements with banks during the Obama administration over similar conduct, this one doesn’t impose consumer relief or other requirements on the bank other than the financial penalty. HSBC entered into the agreement without admitting liability or wrongdoing, according to an emailed statement from the bank.

“We are pleased to put this investigation related to activity that occurred more than a decade ago behind us,” HSBC’s U.S. chief executive officer, Patrick Burke, said in the statement. “The U.S. management team is focused on putting historical matters into the rear view mirror and completing the turnaround of HSBC’s U.S. operations.”

The HSBC securities related to the probe were sold between 2005 and 2007.

Bloomberg News



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