Banking

Royal Bank of Scotland to Pay $153.7 Million over Mortgages

To the SEC

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The Royal Bank of Scotland agreed on Thursday to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $153.7 million to settle charges that it misled investors into buying a risky mortgage-backed security offering.

The S.E.C. concluded that a bank subsidiary, R.B.S. Securities, backed the offering with subprime loans that fell far short of underwriting guidelines. The subsidiary, called Greenwich Capital Markets at the time, bought the loans in 2007 from Option One Mortgage Corporation. Under its deal with Option One, a subsidiary of H&R Block, R.B.S. had to buy the loans by April 30 of that year.

Hurrying to close the deal, the S.E.C. said, R.B.S. failed to fully investigate the quality of the underlying mortgages. It did hire an outside company "to quickly conduct due diligence on a small sample" of the loans, a review that concluded that "a large number" did not meet Option One's own underwriting standards, the S.E.C. said.