Financial Services

For more than three decades, Munger, Tolles & Olson has counseled Wall Street clients on their most critical issues. Our vast financial services experience ranges from probing Salomon Brothers’ treasury auction scandal to guiding Merrill Lynch in its navigation of Orange County’s unprecedented bankruptcy and also advising Bank of America and Wells Fargo in their farthest-reaching mortgage crisis litigation.

As financial institutions face litigation and investigations stemming from their most complicated financial instruments, Munger, Tolles & Olson assembles an interdisciplinary team of litigators and corporate lawyers to achieve the most favorable resolutions. Our financial services lawyers are consistently ranked in Chambers USA, where we were recommended as “one of the firms that can put together a team almost seamlessly.” When it comes to “big strategic decisions they will have thought through all the options and are willing to make recommendations.”

Our lawyers remain at the heart of some of the most important and precedent-setting litigation in this area, from cases involving our clients’ role as trustee of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) trusts to accusations of predatory lending practices.

Our high-profile work on behalf of financial services entities includes representing:

  • Bank of America in:
    • Obtaining a victory before the Second Circuit in a lawsuit brought by the National Credit Union Administration concerning the bank’s role as trustee of dozens of RMBS trusts.
    • An investigation by a consortium of district attorneys relating to the bank’s compliance with call recording disclosure requirements in the California Penal Code.
    • Lawsuits filed by BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank in New York and Florida seeking $1.7 billion in losses the plaintiffs allegedly sustained as noteholders in Ocala Funding.
    • Successfully resolving a $10 billion lawsuit brought by American International Group (AIG) claiming that Bank of America and its Merrill Lynch and Countrywide units misrepresented the quality of mortgages backing securities sold to investors.
    • Litigation filed against it by Ambac seeking to avoid its monoline insurance liability for mortgages originated and securitized by the bank.
    • Litigation filed against it by U.S. Bank seeking repurchases of mortgages originated by the bank.
    • Litigation filed against it by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and numerous private investors seeking to hold the bank liable for losses the investors allegedly suffered in their RMBS purchases.
  • Merrill Lynch in numerous matters, including obtaining dismissal of a putative class action in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles seeking to invalidate compliance requirements that Merrill Lynch financial advisors and other employees traded securities internally.
  • Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. and Merrill Lynch Mortgage Investors, Inc. in breach of contract actions brought by U.S. Bank National Association, in its capacity as trustee for RMBS trusts, alleging that MLML and MLMI breached representations and warranties related to loans securitized in the trusts, and failed to repurchase breaching mortgage loans.
  • Wells Fargo in:
    • A nationwide class action related to the alleged opening of unauthorized accounts. More than a dozen other class action suits were also filed, the vast majority of which were dismissed in favor of arbitration or due to individual settlements.
    • Obtaining dismissal of claims brought by the Navajo Nation alleging that Wells Fargo targeted tribe members to open bank accounts without customer consent.
    • Obtaining affirmance of summary judgment in the Ninth Circuit in a lawsuit brought by the city attorney of Los Angeles alleging that Wells Fargo engaged in discriminatory and predatory mortgage-lending practices targeting minority borrowers in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
    • Wells Fargo’s RMBS securities law and repurchase exposure.
    • All class and individual litigation nationwide by institutional investors in Wells-sponsored RMBS. In the first of this generation of RMBS class actions to settle, Wells Fargo reached a $125 million settlement following claims that the bank made misrepresentations in connection with the sale of more than $35 billion in mortgage-backed securities certificates.
    • Nationwide class, mass and individual actions involving claims by investors in more than $2 billion in notes of special purpose entities owned by Medical Capital Holdings. Medical Capital provided financing to health care providers by purchasing receivables and funded these activities by offering notes to qualified investors.
  • American Express in a U.S. Supreme Court victory in a lawsuit brought by 17 states and the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that the credit card company’s merchant contracts are anti-competitive and violated federal antitrust laws.
  • The outside directors of IndyMac Bank’s RMBS subsidiary, securing dismissals with prejudice of litigation involving the bank’s mortgage-backed securities.

Erin J. Cox (213) 683-9575
David H. Fry (415) 512-4082
Jacob S. Kreilkamp (213) 683-9260
James C. Rutten (213) 683-9189
Richard C. St. John (213) 683-9562
Adam B. Weiss (213) 683-9273