Israeli Bank Sues Wall Street Giants

$720 Million Suit Over Subprime Losses

By Haaretz

Published April 14, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel’s Bank Hapoalim has filed a massive $720 million suit against Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Countrywide over its losses in the U.S. subprime crisis, alleging that the U.S. institutions misled and defrauded it.

Among Israel’s financial institutions, Hapoalim suffered the worst losses in the subprime crisis due to its investments in mortgage-backed securities.

Between 2005 and 2007, the bank, led by Shlomo Nehama and Zvi Ziv, snapped up mortgage-backed securities in an attempt to meet its goal of a 15% return on equity by 2007.

By the end of that year, the bank had invested $3.65 billion in such securities. But when the subprime crisis broke out in mid-2007, these securities collapsed as American homebuyers defaulted on their mortgages.

Only then did many investors realize that the securities were based on mortgages given to some of America’s weakest borrowers, who found themselves unable to pay the moment their homes stopped appreciating in value.

In 2008, Hapoalim booked a NIS 3.9 billion loss due to its investments in instruments including credit-default swaps, mortgage-backed securities and structured investment vehicles - all complex, poorly understood instruments that nosedived during the crash. The losses were on assets Hapoalim bought from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Countrywide and other financial institutions. Hapoalim is considering filing suits against these other companies as well.

It filed its suit against Bank of America, the United States’ second-largest bank, two weeks ago in Manhattan federal court.

For more, go to Haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.