Chart: Bank of America's $45 Billion Legal Fiasco


Sometimes all I want is a simple graph. With this in mind, the figure below breaks down the largest legal settlements that Bank of America has racked up since purchasing Countrywide Financial in 2008.

Sources: Government press releases, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Bloomberg News. *The settlement headed up by Bank of New York Mellon is awaiting court approval.

All told, the total amount is in the neighborhood of $45 billion, stemming primarily from the billions of dollars in subprime mortgages originated by Countrywide in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

While this is unquestionably a huge number -- as B of A's CEO Brian Moynihan said: "There aren't many days when I get up and think positively about [that deal]" -- the nation's second largest bank by assets isn't out of the woods yet. As best as I can tell, there remain three considerable hurdles that we presently know of.

The first is the still-pending $8.5 billion settlement overseen by Bank of New York Mellon as trustee for the RMBS trusts -- the underlying investors in the action reads like a Who's Who of financial firms including PIMCO, Blackrock , and MetLife , among others. The second is the ongoing case between B of A and monoline insurer MBIA -- MBIA was the largest private-label bond insurer prior to the financial crisis. And the final one concerns a multiparty action, brought by a variety of investors in Countrywide issued mortgage-backed securities, that's making its way through a federal district court in California.

Thus, even though the massive settlements from earlier this week go a long way toward removing the uncertainty surrounding B of A's remaining liability, material outstanding claims remain.

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