Wells Fargo & Co will pay a net $541 million to Fannie Mae to settle claims concerning defective home loans. The settlement completes the government-run mortgage company's efforts to have banks buy back troubled loans that were made before the financial crisis.
Fannie Mae reported it now has reached settlements worth roughly $6.5 billion over loan buybacks with eight banks. It also includes a $968 million accord in July with Citigroup Inc .
Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (NYSE: C) were among the lenders that agreed to pay hefty sums in 2013 in order to resolve repurchase claims on mortgages originated and sold to the government-sponsored entity between 2005 and 2008. Fannie Mae devoted much of the year to reviewing such loans for underwriting defects that could spur repurchase requests, according to a press release.
In the Wells Fargo settlement, the nation's largest mortgage lender and fourth-largest bank by assets will pay Fannie Mae $541 million in cash after adjusting for credits from earlier repurchases. Before adjustments, the settlement totaled $591 million.
The Wells Fargo settlement resolves most repurchase claims against the lender over loans sold to Fannie Mae made before 2009.
"We have closed out our legacy repurchase reviews with this agreement," Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulos said in a statement. "This agreement represents a fitting conclusion to our year of hard work to put legacy issues in the rear view mirror and begin 2014 focused on improving the future of housing finance."
Wells Fargo agreed in September to pay $780 million to the smaller Freddie Mac to resolve similar repurchase claims. It said it had set aside sufficient funds for the Fannie Mae settlement.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were directed by its regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), to reduce outstanding loan repurchase demands by year end, and have been reaching many agreements with individual lenders.
Banks can be forced to buy back home loans if representations and warranties concerning the underwriting and whether borrowers could afford to make payments prove false.