HSBC, Europe's largest lender, said possible damages from a lawsuit filed by a U.S. regulator over improperly sold mortgage-backed securities could cost the bank as much as $1.6 billion.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency "alleges that the defendants caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," the London-based bank said today in its first-half earnings report. "Based upon the information currently available, it is possible that these damages could be as high as $1.6 billion."
The FHFA filed a suit in September 2011 over residential mortgage-backed securities sponsored by HSBC. The FHFA sued 17 other banks that year, seeking to recover losses on $196 billion in mortgage-backed bonds sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have operated under U.S. conservatorship since they were seized amid subprime losses in 2008.
Citigroup reached a settlement with the FHFA in May on a lawsuit over $3.5 billion in bonds the bank sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. UBS AG said last month it's close to an agreement.