Bank of America Heads Back to the Drawing Board

Updated with Bank of America's comment.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s court filing on Monday objecting to Bank of America's ( BAC) $8.5 billion settlement of Countrywide mortgage putback claims, could put the final nail in the coffin for the settlement.

The nation's largest bank arrived at the Countrywide settlement in June with a group of institutional investors that included BlackRock ( BLK), MetLife ( MET), subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs ( GS) ING Groep ( ING), and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Bank of New York Mellon ( BK) -- the trustee of the affected mortgage-backed-securities trusts -- has asked a New York judge to approve the settlement in November, according to a Bloomberg Report.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

Andrew Gray, the director of the FDIC's Office of Public Affairs, said the agency's court filing was "simply a formal notice to preserve our right to make claims as a part of the settlement and seeks additional information to evaluate those potential claims," and that the filing was "not an evaluation or opinion on the settlement itself."

The filing is a "Notice of Intention to Appear of Object," and the agency is objecting to the agreement because it is holding Countrywide mortgage paper "covered by the proposed settlement" inherited from "numerous" failed banks, because it "does not have enough information to evaluate the Settlement."

The FDIC joins various other parties objecting to the Countrywide settlement, including six of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks (according to Bloomberg News), several public pension funds (according to Reuters), and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Bank of America spokesman Lawrence Grayson said "we believe that the trustee acted reasonably in entering into the settlement, and that there are compelling reasons why the agreement should receive judicial approval."

The FDIC is required under law to recover as much as possible on the problem assets it has retained after selling-off the choicest assets of failed banks, which could cause the agency to take an independent course from the Obama Administration.

One indication of this was the Obama Administrations pressure on Schneiderman to agree to a broad settlement of the mortgage foreclosure mess, between federal regulators, the states, and the largest U.S. mortgage servicers, including Bank of America (which acquired Countrywide in 2008), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) (which acquired the failed Washington Mutual from the FDIC in 2008), Wells Fargo ( WFC) (which acquired Wachovia in 2008) and Citigroup ( C).

The potential mortgage putback risk is staggering, according to June 30 data from Federal Reserve filings, supplied by SNL Financial.

Bank of America was servicing $148.8 billion in one-to-four family mortgages loans (excluding home equity lines) for others that were past due over 90 or more days, plus another $22.6 billion in "early-stage delinquency" of 30 to 80 days.

JPMorgan Chase serviced $52.4 billion in one-to-four family mortgage loans for others that were past due 90+ days, plus another $9.0 billion past due 30 to 90 days.

For Wells Fargo, one-to-fours serviced for others that were past due 90+ days totaled $5.9 billion, while those past due 30 to 89 days totaled $14.8 billion.

For Citigroup, one-to-four family mortgages serviced for others that were past due 90 or more days totaled $1.7 billion, while earlier-stage delinquencies within the portfolio serviced for others totaled $5.0 billion.

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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

To contact the writer, click here: Philip van Doorn.

To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/PhilipvanDoorn.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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