Morgan Stanley Settles Massachusetts Lending Case for $102 Million

According to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Morgan Stanley has agreed to pay $102 million to settle allegations that it offered predatory subprime mortgage loan funding in the state. The investment firm filed its assurance of discontinuance in Massachusetts state court, agreeing to pay $19.5 million to the state, $58 million in relief to approximately 1,000 Massachusetts homeowners, $2 million to nonprofit groups that help subprime foreclosure victims, and $23.4 million to a state pension plan and a state trust for investment losses. By agreeing to settle, Morgan Stanley is not admitting to or denying the attorney general’s allegations.

Coakley contends that the investment bank provided subprime lender New Century billions of dollars. The funds were used to target lower-income borrowers to get them into loans they would not be able to pay back. Coakley contends that even though Morgan Stanley “uncovered signals pretty early on” that New Century’s practices “were not sound” and the “bad loans were causing the lender to collapse” the investment bank went forward with funding and securitizing the loans. Coakley also says that Morgan Stanley was aware that New Century repeatedly violated Massachusetts banking standards between 2005 and 2007, used inaccurate and inflated appraisals, and improperly calculate debt-to-ratio from initial “teaser rates.”

The state says that Morgan Stanley packaged the loans and sold them to big investors. The investment bank has been ordered to revise some of its lending practices.

Bank of America/Countrywide, Goldman Sachs, Fremont Investment and Loan, and others have reached similar settlements with the state. The approximately $440 million in settlement money will provide borrowers, investors, homeowners, and the state with relief and recovery.

Related Web Resources:
Morgan Stanley Settles Massachusetts Subprime Loan Probe, ABC News, June 24, 2010
Morgan Stanley to Pay $102 Million in Subprime Accord, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 24, 2010
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley

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