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UPDATE: Bank of America Received Subpoenas Related to Libor Probe

Date : 03/08/2012 @ 00:37
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Barclays (BARC)
Quote : 246.5  8.95 (3.77%) @ 16:35

UPDATE: Bank of America Received Subpoenas Related to Libor Probe

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)
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--Bank received subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice

--Bank will take charge of about $800 million related to U.K. tax rate

--Bank is in settlement discussions with Fannie Mae

(Adds details about discussions between Bank of America and Fannie Mae in final three paragraphs.)

 
   By Matthias Rieker 
 

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) disclosed that it received subpoenas from the U.S. government, part of an inquiry related to how U.S. and European banks set Libor interest rates.

The bank also disclosed in a quarterly regulatory filing that the decline in the United Kingdom's corporate-tax rate would result in a third-quarter charge.

The nation's second-largest bank by assets said in its Form 10-Q filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission late Thursday it received "subpoenas and information requests" from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority tied to a probe by regulators into how banks set the London Interbank Offered Rate, a key interest rate for bank lending, "and European and other interbank offered rates."

Last month, Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson told investors the bank was cooperating with Libor-related inquiries from "U.S. and the foreign regulators."

"We're also one of a number of defendants in some of the other Libor-related litigation," he said and declined to elaborate further.

Barclays PLC (BCS, BARC.LN) was forced to pay roughly $450 million to U.K. and U.S. regulators after its staff attempted to alter Libor to its benefit. Robert Diamond subsequently resigned as the company's chief executive. But regulators and government authorities have begun to look into what role other banks had in pushing Libor down.

Bank of America also said it received inquiries from regulators about the sale of identity-theft-protection services to its credit-card customers, "including customers who may have paid for but did not receive certain of such services from third-party vendors."

Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) last month agreed to pay $210 million to settle allegations it allowed its call-center contractors to pressure customers into buying consumer-credit-protection products such as identity-theft-monitoring services.

Also, Bank of America said it would take a charge of about $800 million tied to the July decision by the U.K. government to lower corporate taxes. That lower tax rate will negatively impact Bank of America's deferred-tax assets because it would take the bank longer to write off past losses against current and future earnings.

Another potential U.K. corporate-tax cut by 2014 suggested by the government there would result in a charge of about $400 million charge, the filing said.

Bank of America also said in its filing it continues its discussions with Fannie Mae (FNMA) "to attempt to address our ongoing differences" about soured mortgages the bank had sold to Fannie that the government-controlled enterprise now demands the bank take back.

Fannie has become more aggressive with such claims, executives at several bank have said recently. Fannie is demanding loans be taken back that were made to borrowers who made payments long after the crisis hit, or on homes that were foreclosed on two or three years ago, said a person familiar with the matter.

Bank of America is in settlement discussions and has made some progress, the person said.

--David Benoit contributed to this article.

Write to Matthias Rieker at matthias.rieker@dowjones.com

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