NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Bank of America (BAC) reached a "side agreement" with with regulators that will reduce the mortgages of some 200,000 borrowers while cutting down on its legal liability, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The bank reached the separate agreement as part of a recent $25 billion settlement related to alleged foreclosure abuses. The proposal, if finalized, would allow BofA to avoid fines of up to $850 million.
Last month the U.S. Justice Department announced a broad foreclosure settlement between the largest mortgage servicers, federal regulators and 49 states' attorneys general.
The settlement provides a way for Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (C), and Ally Financial to move beyond the "robo-signing" mess, nearly a year after federal regulators handed down cease and desist orders requiring myriad improvements in loan servicing and foreclosure processes.
Greece managed to get 95% of its private sector creditors to agree to swap their bonds for ones that were less than half their value, a crucial step towards enabling the country to avoid a messy default. The successful debt swap is good news after weeks of anxiety that the deal will not go through. Getting bondholders to write off a significant portion of their debt was a pre-condition to the country securing a 130 billion euro bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Still, Greece will be invoking "collective action clauses" to force the bulk of the remaining investors to agree to the debt swap, which is likely to trigger payouts on credit default swaps, which may have unknown consequences for the market. U.S. banks have said their exposure to Greece is manageable. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon had already said that the direct impact of a Greece default on U.S. banks was practically zero.
Citigroup (C) paid CEO Vikram Pandit his first bonus since 2008, awarding him $14.9 million in total compensation according to a regulatory filing. The package included salary of $1.7 million and cash supplemented by a cash bonus of $5.3 million and options valued at $7.8 million. In 2010, the CEO received a salary of $1 and no bonus. In his annual letter to shareholders, Pandit reiterated the bank's goal to return more capital to shareholders. Citi also announced that it has hired two new directors to its board, Roche Holding Chairman Franz Humer and Joan Spero, a senior research scholar at Columbia University, to replace departing directors. It previously announced that board member Michael O'Neill, the former CEO of Bank of Hawaii will replace Richard Parsons as chairman.
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