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Bank of America agreed Thursday to a record nearly $17 billion deal with US authorities to settle claims it sold risky mortgage securities as safe investments ahead of the 2008 financial crisis. The settlement, with the US Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other authorities including individual states, resolves a number of civil investigations against the bank and subsidiaries Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, which it took over during the crisis. “We believe this settlement, which resolves significant remaining mortgage-related exposures, is in the best interests of our shareholders, and allows us to continue to focus on the future," the bank's chief executive Brian Moynihan said in a statement. The settlement took aim at hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of low-quality home mortgages pooled into securities that were issued and sold to investors by the bank, Merrill Lynch and Countrywide as high-quality investments.