The Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly made a compromise with Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) in connection with the mortgage-related cases brought against it after the financial crisis in 2008. That compromise will likely clear the way for the completion of a $16.7 billion settlement, reports Bloomberg, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
SEC waives some sanctions
The media outlet reports that SEC commissioners voted on Wednesday to waive the majority of extra sanctions that would begin when the settlement with Bank of America is entered into court. One area in which commissioners are holding firm is a penalty that removes the bank’s right to issue more bonds or shares without getting the approval of the SEC every time.
Bank of America and the SEC are approaching a key deadline for a judge to sign off on a settlement between them. Both parties had previously requested more time twice while the negotiations continued.
Bank of America has been attempting to settle several government investigations which came in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Just last week, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency fined the bank and several other companies in connection with a probe into the manipulation of foreign exchange rates.
Three issues for Bank of America
According to Bloomberg, there were three major sanctions that were holding up the negotiations between Bank of America and SEC regulators. Commissioners voted to waive the harshest sanction, which would have kept Bank of America from even managing any mutual funds, said Bloomberg’s sources. They voted to enforce the second penalty, which bars the bank from raising capital without seeking the approval of regulators to do so.
The SEC granted a partial waiver on the third issue, which would have kept Bank of America from assisting large clients like hedge funds in raising capital through private share sales. Under the terms of the agreement, the bank can keep doing what it already does in this area for the next 30 months.
However, Bank of America will be required to hire an independent consultant who will keep tabs on its procedures and policies and ensure that it remains compliant with regulations. Then the bank must reapply to the SEC to attempt to get that sanction fully lifted. The bank’s chief legal officer or CEO must sign the application.