Justia Banking Opinion Summaries
Commerce Bank v. McGowen
In this garnishment proceeding, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court concluding that Robert McGowen's deferred compensation plan benefits paid upon him reaching the age of sixty-seven were not exempt under Iowa Code 627.6(8)(e), holding that the payments made to McGowen fell within the scope of the statutory exemption.Commerce Bank obtained a judgment against McGowen in the amount of $1.5 million. Commerce Bank then caused to be issued a writ of general execution directing the sheriff to levy on McGowen's employer (the company). McGowen moved to exempt all payments made to him under the company's deferred compensation plan under section 642.15. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that McGowen's deferred compensation payments were exempt under the statute. View "Commerce Bank v. McGowen" on Justia Law
Alig v. Quicken Loans Inc.
Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that pressure tactics used by Quicken Loans and TSI to influence home appraisers to raise appraisal values to obtain higher loan values on their homes constituted a breach of contract and unconscionable inducement under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The district court granted summary judgment to plaintiffs.The Fourth Circuit concluded that class certification is appropriate and that plaintiffs are entitled to summary judgment on their claims for conspiracy and unconscionable inducement. However, the court concluded that the district court erred in its analysis of the breach-of-contract claim. The court explained that the district court will need to address defendants' contention that there were no damages suffered by those class members whose appraisals would have been the same whether or not the appraisers were aware of the borrowers' estimates of value—which one might expect, for example, if a borrower's estimate of value was accurate. The court agreed with plaintiffs that the covenant of good faith and fair dealing applies to the parties' contract, but concluded that it cannot by itself sustain the district court's decision at this stage. The district court may consider the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to the extent that it is relevant for evaluating Quicken Loans' performance of the contracts. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part. View "Alig v. Quicken Loans Inc." on Justia Law
United Bank v. Buckingham
The Court of Appeals held that a change in life insurance beneficiary constitutes a conveyance under the Maryland Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act (MUFCA), Md. Code Comm. Law 15-201(c), and that a guardian of property is not granted the authority to change a life insurance beneficiary on a policy of the ward under section 15-102(t) of the Estates and Trusts Article (ET).In a case arising from a decade-long dispute between the adult children of the Buckingham family and United Bank, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland certified two questions of law to the Court of Appeals regarding whether the children intentionally defrauded the Bank when they successfully diverted significant amounts of life insurance proceeds away from the declining family business and to their personal use. The Court of Appeals answered the questions as follows: (1) a change of the beneficiary designation of a life insurance policy constitutes a conveyance under MUFCA; and (2) the guardian of property does not have the authority to change the beneficiary on a life insurance policy of a ward under ET 15-102(t). View "United Bank v. Buckingham" on Justia Law
Sevier County Schools Federal Credit Union v. Branch Banking & Trust Co.
In 1989, the Plaintiffs opened Money Market Investment Accounts (MMIAs) with FNB. FNB guaranteed that the MMIAs’ annual rate of interest would “never fall below 6.5%.” The original contract did not limit an account holder’s right to enforce the agreement in court but stated: Changes in the terms of this agreement may be made by the financial institution from time to time and shall become effective upon the earlier of (a) the expiration of a thirty-day period of posting of such changes in the financial institution, or (b) the making or delivery of notice thereof to the depositor by the notice in the depositor’s monthly statement for one month.In 1997, FNB merged with BankFirst. In 2001, BankFirst merged with BB&T, which sent a Bank Services Agreement (BSA) to each account holder, which included an arbitration provision. A 2004 BSA amendment added a class action waiver. A 2017 Amendment made massive changes to the BSA, including an extensive arbitration provision and stating that continued use of the account after receiving notice constituted acceptance of the changes. The Plaintiffs maintained their accounts. In 2018, the Plaintiffs were notified that the annual percentage rate applicable to their accounts would drop from 6.5% to 1.05%.The Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissal of the Plaintiffs' breach of contract suit. Because there was no mutual assent, the 2001 BSA and its subsequent amendments are invalid to the extent that they materially changed the terms of the original agreement. BB&T gave the Plaintiffs no choice other than to acquiesce or to close their high-yield savings accounts. BB&T did not act reasonably when it added the arbitration provision years after the Plaintiffs’ accounts were established, thus violating the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. View "Sevier County Schools Federal Credit Union v. Branch Banking & Trust Co." on Justia Law
House v. U.S. Bank National Ass’n
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting various mortgage lenders and trustees summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims for negligence and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, holding that genuine issues of material fact did not preclude summary judgment.Plaintiff filed an action asserting negligent loan supervision/administration, breach of the implied contract covenant of good faith and fair dealing, anticipatory declaratory judgment, and quiet title to mortgaged property. The district court granted summary judgment to Bank of America, N.A. (BOA) on all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting BOA summary judgment on Plaintiff's asserted negligence and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims. View "House v. U.S. Bank National Ass'n" on Justia Law
U.S. Bank, N.A. v. White Horse Estates Homeowners Ass’n
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district courts' grants of summary judgment in favor of the HOA in an action brought by the Bank, seeking to set aside the HOA's foreclosure sale of real property in Nevada. The district court held that, because the mortgage savings clause in the applicable covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) did not affect the sale, the sale could not be set aside. Therefore, title vested with SFR Investments, the purchaser at the HOA sale.The panel predicted that the Nevada Supreme Court would adhere to its unpublished decisions, and hold that a mortgage-savings clause, by itself, did not constitute unfairness that affects a sale. The panel held that the clause was void as a matter of Nevada law, because it plainly conflicted with Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.3116(2), which required liens for unpaid assessments to have superpriority status, and Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.1104, which provided that the priorities cannot be modified by agreement. The panel also held that the mortgage-savings clause was void under the terms of the CC&Rs themselves. The panel explained that the Bank did not introduce any evidence whatsoever in this case that the mortgage-savings clause affected this sale. The panel rejected the Bank's remaining arguments and concluded that no unfairness arose from the HOA's processing of payments. Finally, the notice at issue did not violate due process. View "U.S. Bank, N.A. v. White Horse Estates Homeowners Ass'n" on Justia Law
PNC Mortgage v. Howard
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that a refinancing lender's failure to timely foreclose its property lien precluded the lender from seeking recourse from the borrowers' default through equitable subrogation, holding that a lender's forfeit of its lien does not preclude the lender's equitable right to assert a preexisting lien discharged with the proceeds from its loan.After Borrowers defaulted, Lender sought foreclosure of its lien and alternatively sought a judgment declaring its right to foreclosure of the underlying liens on the property through equitable subrogation. The trial court declared that Lender's lien was unenforceable. The court of appeals affirmed, thus rejecting Lender's assertion of an equitable right to enforce the liens. After the court of appeals issued its opinion, the Supreme Court decided Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp. v. Zepeda, 601 S.W.3d 763 (Tex. 2020). The Supreme Court reversed the portion of the judgment declaring Lender's equitable subrogation rights unenforceable, holding that the Court's opinion in Zepeda required reversal. View "PNC Mortgage v. Howard" on Justia Law
Mayotte v. U.S. Bank
The overarching issue here presented for the Tenth Circuit's review centered on whether the economic-loss rule prevented use of tort remedies for a lender’s failure to carry out its promises. The claims grew out of Plaintiff-appellant Mary Mayotte’s mortgage with U.S. Bank, which used Wells Fargo to service the loan. Mayotte sought modification of the loan and alleged that Wells Fargo had agreed to modify her loan if she withheld three payments. Based on this alleged understanding, Mayotte withheld three payments. But Wells Fargo denied agreeing to modify the loan, and U.S. Bank eventually foreclosed. The foreclosure spurred Mayotte to sue U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, asserting statutory claims (violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act), tort claims (negligence, negligent supervision, and negligent hiring), and a claim for a declaratory judgment. The district court granted summary judgment to U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, relying in part on the economic-loss rule and Mayotte’s failure to present evidence of compensatory damages. The district court ultimately entered judgment in favor of defendants-lenders, rejecting Mayotte's effort to recover tort remedies for wrongful conduct consisting solely of alleged contractual breaches. To this, the Tenth Circuit agreed with the district court and affirmed judgment. View "Mayotte v. U.S. Bank" on Justia Law
United States v. Harra
Wilmington Trust financed construction projects. Extensions were commonplace. Wilmington’s loan documents reserved its right to “renew or extend (repeatedly and for any length of time) this loan . . . without the consent of or notice to anyone.” Wilmington’s internal policy did not classify all mature loans with unpaid principals as past due if the loans were in the process of renewal and interest payments were current, Following the 2008 "Great Recession," Wilmington excluded some of the loans from those it reported as “past due” to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve. Wilmington’s executives maintained that, under a reasonable interpretation of the reporting requirements, the exclusion of the loans from the “past due” classification was proper. The district court denied their requests to introduce evidence concerning or instruct the jury about that alternative interpretation. The jury found the reporting constituted “false statements” under 18 U.S.C. 1001 and 15 U.S.C. 78m, and convicted the executives.The Third Circuit reversed in part. To prove falsity beyond a reasonable doubt in this situation, the government must prove either that its interpretation of the reporting requirement is the only objectively reasonable interpretation or that the defendant’s statement was also false under the alternative, objectively reasonable interpretation. The court vacated and remanded the conspiracy and securities fraud convictions, which were charged in the alternative on an independent theory of liability, View "United States v. Harra" on Justia Law
FNB Bank v. Marine Park, LLC, et al.
SE Property Holdings, LLC ("SEPH"), the successor by merger to Vision Bank, and FNB Bank ("FNB") separately appealed a circuit court's judgments on their breach-of-contract claims against Bama Bayou, LLC, formerly known as Riverwalk, LLC ("Bama Bayou"), and Marine Park, LLC ("Marine Park"), and the individuals and entities guaranteeing Bama Bayou's and Marine Park's contract obligations, challenging the trial court's damages awards. Bama Bayou and Marine Park were the developers of a planned mixed-use development in Orange Beach consisting of a marine park, residential condominiums, retail shops, hotels, and commercial entertainment venues. Marine Park specifically intended to develop a special-use facility for the exhibition of marine animals. Vision Bank made four loans to Bama Bayou and Marine Park related to the development project. The Marine Park loan was fully funded by FNB pursuant to a participation agreement with Vision Bank. The participation agreement provided that the Marine Park parcel would be owned by FNB in the event it was acquired by foreclosure. Bama Bayou and Marine Park were having financial problems with regard to the project by August 2007. Vision Bank demanded payment at that time, and Bama Bayou, Marine Park, and the guarantors failed and/or refused to pay the indebtedness owed on the loans. In 2009, Vision Bank conducted a public auction to separately foreclose the mortgages. No bids were submitted; Vision Bank purchased the properties. Neither Bama Bayou, nor Marine Park, nor the guarantors exercised their rights to redeem the properties. Vision Bank sued Bama Bayou and its guarantors, and Marine Park and its guarantors for amounts owed under those loans, including all principal, accrued interest, late charges, attorney's fees and collection costs. After review, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed the trial court's judgments in these consolidated cases and remanded for a determination of the appropriate awards on the breach-of-contract claims. "Such awards should account for all accrued interest, late charges, attorney's fees, collection costs, and property- preservation expenses owed." View "FNB Bank v. Marine Park, LLC, et al." on Justia Law