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US finalises $4.9 bn fine on RBS over conduct during financial crisis

Edinburgh-based RBS committed a variety of ills associated with the underwriting and packaging of sub-prime loans into securities that became toxic in the US housing bust, according to US officials

Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland will pay US$4.9 bn towards settling the charges it faces, on  misleading investors on mortgage-backed securities ahead of the financial crisis,stated the US Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

The Edinburgh-based RBS committed a variety of ills associated with the underwriting and packaging of sub-prime loans into securities that became toxic in the US housing bust, US officials said.

“Many Americans suffered lasting economic harm as a result of the 2008 financial crisis,” said acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio.

“This settlement holds RBS accountable for serious misconduct that contributed to that financial crisis, and it sends an important message that the Department of Justice will pursue financial institutions that illicitly harm the American economy and our consumers.” He added.

A final settlement was expected in May after RBS disclosed a preliminary deal with the Justice Department. A statement by the Justice Department  accused RBS of failing to disclose loan risks to investors; waiving standards in a way that allowed bad loans to be included in securities packages; and providing loan data to investors that gave a false impression that the loans were less risky than they really were.

These offences are “allegations only, which RBS disputes and does not admit,” the Justice Department stated.

Last year, in a settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Authority over the same matter, the bank agreed to pay $5.5 bn.

The fine is the latest following billions of dollars in penalties on major banks across the globe, over their conduct ahead of the financial crisis.

-GBO Correspondent

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