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BofA to pay $315 million settlement for Merrill Lynch unit

Proposed class action deal is one of the largest ever related to mortgage-backed securities

Unfortunately for Bank of America (BofA), the excuse of leaving its wallet in El Segundo was taken more than 20 years ago.

The bank agreed to a $315 million settlement with investors who claim they were bilked over mortgage-backed securities offered by its Merrill Lynch unit. According to reports, the proposed class action deal is one of the largest-ever settlements of investor claims against banks related to toxic mortgage-backed securities.

The potential settlement, which still requires the imprimatur of Judge Jed Rakoff, was disclosed last night in court papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. If ratified, the deal will mitigate investors’ claims that Merrill Lynch misled them about the risks associated with $16.5 billion of securities leading up to the financial crisis. BofA, which purchased Merrill Lynch in September 2008, admits no wrongdoing.

The proposed settlement is different from the potential $8.5 billion pact mediated by Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BNY Mellon) to assuage investors in 530 mortgage securitization trusts.

That deal, however, was maligned in early November when a lawyer representing American International Group Inc. told U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley in New York that investors wanted the “shroud of secrecy” lifted. At the time, Reuters reported that BNY Mellon said the negotiations leading to the proposed agreement were hardly as secretive as some investors seemed to think.

For more on BofA’s Merrill Lynch settlement, read Reuters.

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