This excerpt taken from the HBC 6-K filed Nov 10, 2008.
During the past several years, the press has widely reported certain industry related concerns, including rising delinquencies, the tightening of credit and more recently, increasing litigation. Some of the litigation instituted against lenders is being brought in the form of purported class actions by individuals or by state or federal regulators or state attorneys general. Like other companies in this industry, we are involved in litigation regarding our practices. The cases generally allege inadequate disclosure or misrepresentation during the loan origination process. In some suits, other parties are also named as defendants. Unspecified compensatory and punitive damages are sought. The judicial climate in many states is such that the outcome of these cases is unpredictable. Although we believe we have substantive legal defenses to these claims and are prepared to defend each case vigorously, a number of such cases have been settled or otherwise resolved for amounts that in the aggregate are not material to our operations. Insurance carriers have been notified as appropriate.
LOAN DISCRIMINATION LITIGATION
Since July of 2007, HSBC Finance Corporation and/or one or more of its subsidiaries has been named as a defendant in five class actions filed in the federal courts in the Northern District of Illinois, the Central District of California and the District of Massachusetts: Zamudio v. HSBC North America Holdings and HSBC Finance Corporation d/b/a Beneficial, (N.D. Ill. 07CV5413), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”) v. Ameriquest Mortgage Company, et al. including HSBC Finance Corporation (C.D. Ca., No. SACV07-0794AG), Toruno v. HSBC Finance Corporation and Decision One Mortgage Company, LLC (C.D. Ca., No. CV07-05998JSL), Suyapa Allen v. Decision One Mortgage Company, LLC, HSBC Finance Corporation, et al. (D. Mass., C.A. 07-11669) and Doiron, et al. v. HSBC Mortgage Services Inc., et al., (E.D. Ca., 2:08-CV-00605-FCD). Each suit alleges that the named entities racially discriminated against their customers by using loan pricing policies and procedures that have resulted in a disparate impact against minority customers. Violations of various federal statutes, including the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, are claimed. The Zamudio case was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff on July 7, 2008 and may not be reinitiated. At this time, we are unable to quantify the potential impact from the remaining actions, if any.