Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has announced a $60 million settlement with Goldman Sachs over the alleged role the investment bank played in the subprime mortgage crisis. While Goldman did not originate the loans, it played a role in their securitization. Coakley has been conducting a nationwide probe targeting investment banks that knew certain loans were high risk but still opted to write them, as well as underwrite securities from these loans. Coakley says that state courts are in agreement that a number of these loans were destined to fail from the start.
Massachusetts will use $50 million of the settlement to help 714 Massachusetts homeowners with mortgages that are either delinquent or still performing. The money, however, won’t go toward helping homeowners whose homes have already foreclosed. The other $10 million will go to the state.
Among the terms of the settlement:
• Goldman has consented to principal write-downs of 25% to 30% for first mortgages and upward of 50% for second mortgages if owners want to sell or refinance their homes.
• A homeowner who is significantly delinquent will have to make manageable payments toward mortgages until they are able to sell or refinance.
• If a homeowner cannot sell his or her home, Goldman will help qualified borrowers to refinance and provide other solutions so that they don’t have to foreclose.
• Homeowners that have loans with Goldman entities and those that Litton Loan Servicing LP has serviced will receive immediate help.
By agreeing to the settlement, Goldman is not admitting to or denying wrongdoing. This is the first settlement, however, where an investment bank has been held to task for its role in the subprime lending crisis. Up until this point, prosecutors were only targeting the sources of the subprime loans and not the parties that put together the loans and presented them to investors.
Related Web Resources:
Massachusetts settles with Goldman Sachs, UPI, May 11, 2009
Goldman Sachs, Massachusetts reach settlement on mortgage securities, LA Times, May 12, 2009
Attorney General Martha Coakley
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