WICHITA, Kan. – JP Morgan Chase asked a federal court here Friday to postpone a civil suit brought against it by NCUA in the failure of four corporate credit unions until a federal appeals court has decided whether the credit union regulator waited too long to file similar securities claims against RBS Securities, Wells Fargo’s Wachovia Capital Markets and other Wall Street banks.
Friday’s request came as JP Morgan was agreeing to settle separate charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging the banking giant provided misstatements and faulty disclosures in the sale of billions of dollars of residential mortgage-backed securities to investors, helping to precipitate the collapse of the housing finance market. The SEC announced the settlement Friday under which JP Morgan will pay $297 million and Credit Suisse, another Wall Street bank being sued by NCUA, will pay $120 million to settle SEC charges.
The JP Morgan settlement involves MBS sold by Bear Stearns, which JP Morgan bought after its 2008 collapse, while the NCUA suit relates to securities sold by JP Morgan to the failed corporates.
NCUA’s suit against JP Morgan revolves around $1.5 billion of MBS the Wall Street bank sold to four of the five failed corporates: U.S. Central FCU, WesCorp FCU, Members United Corporate FCU and Southwest Corporate FCU. The suit is filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas, which has jurisdiction over Lenexa, Kan.-based U.S. Central.
NCUA claims that JP Morgan failed to properly disclose the risks and true nature of the mortgages it packaged into MBS, which went bad within months of their sale, creating billions of dollars in losses.
NCUA has similar suits pending against six other Wall Street banks, including RBS, Wells Fargo (Wachovia), Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, UBS Securities and Barclay’s Capital, and has reached out-of-court settlements of similar claims with Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and HSBC.
In Friday’s motion to stay the NCUA case, JP Morgan notes that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to review a lower court ruling allowing NCUA to extend the nominal statute of limitations on securities claims sold to the corporates—some as long ago as 2005—because the federal agency did not have access to the corporates’ records until after NCUA took the failed entities under conservatorship in March 2009. NCUA claims it is entitled to an extension of the filing deadline—known as an extender statute—because of the extraordinary authority granted federal bank and credit union conservators.
The lower court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, agreed with NCUA and has allowed the claims to proceed. The Tenth Circuit has agreed to review the lower court’s ruling.
“Depending on how this Court rules on other aspects of the Motion to Dismiss, it might require dismissal of the entire Complaint. In light of these circumstances, this action should be stayed,” argues JP Morgan in its motion to stay the NCUA claims against it.