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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

NCUA Files LIBOR Action


Consumer Finance

On September 23, the NCUA announced a lawsuit against 13 international banks alleging violations of federal and state antitrust laws by artificially manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) system. The NCUA filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on behalf of five failed credit unions. The NCUA claims the institutions individually and collectively gave false interest rate information through the LIBOR rate-setting process to benefit their own LIBOR-related investments, to reduce their borrowing costs, to deceive the marketplace as to the true state of their creditworthiness and to deprive investors of interest rate payments. According to the NCUA, the now defunct credit unions held tens of billions of dollars in investments and other assets that paid interest streams tied to LIBOR, and that the alleged conspiracy to artificially depress LIBOR caused the failed credit unions to receive less in interest income than they otherwise were entitled to receive.