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HSBC Must Face U.S. Lawsuit Over Failed Credit Unions
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 6:35 AM

According to an article in Reuters (07.21.15), a federal judge rejected HSBC Holdings Plc's bid to dismiss a U.S. lawsuit claiming that its failure to perform its duties as trustee for $2.37 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities contributed to the downfall of five federal credit unions.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan on Monday night said the National Credit Union Administration had standing to sue even though most of the debt had been resecuritized, and the new trustee refused to sue HSBC on its behalf. The lawsuit is one of many in which the NCUA is seeking to recover investment losses that led to the 2009 and 2010 failures of the U.S. Central, Western Corporate, Constitution Corporate, Members United Corporate, and Southwest Corporate credit unions.

Scheindlin rejected HSBC's argument that the March 20 lawsuit concerning its oversight of 37 RMBS trusts dating from 2004 to 2007 came too late, having been filed six years after the first two credit unions failed. She also said the NCUA could still pursue claims as the credit unions' "conservator" or "liquidating agent," despite having resecuritized their distressed mortgage securities and guaranteed payments on the newly issued notes.

The NCUA did this "to fulfill its governmental purpose of stabilizing the credit union system," Scheindlin wrote. "It seems perverse to conclude, based on these actions, that NCUA is not bringing suit as a conservator or liquidating agent, simply because it took this extra step."

The case is National Credit Union Administration Board v HSBC Bank USA NA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-02144.