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September 25, 2013

Bank of America 'Hustle' Trial Kicks Off

The government kicked off its “Hustle” case against Bank of America Corp., arguing the bank’s Countrywide unit misled executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about the quality of loans they bought in 2007 and 2008.

The civil-fraud case centers on an expedited loan-processing program for prime loans—those made to borrowers with the highest credit scores—that Countrywide developed as the housing bubble began to deflate six years ago. The program—called the “Hustle” by Countrywide after the acronym HSSL, which stood for “high-speed swim lane”—misled executives at mortgage-finance companies Fannie and Freddie about the quality of loans that Countrywide sold them, the government’s lawyers argued Tuesday at U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

In his opening argument before the court, Pierre Armand from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said the promise of quality loans at the Hustle program was ‘largely a joke,’ arguing that the program ignored red flags and removed controls that were in place to protect against making bad loans. The government alleges Countrywide made $165 million from the program.”


Read full Wall Street Journal article here

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