|FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION FANNIE MAE filed this Form 10-Q on 05/07/2015|
NOTES TO CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - (Continued)
In determining the changes in the instrument-specific credit risk for loans, the changes in the associated credit-related components of these loans, primarily the guaranty obligation, were taken into consideration with the overall change in the fair value of the loans for which we elected the fair value option for financial instruments. In determining the changes in the instrument-specific credit risk for debt, the changes in Fannie Mae debt spreads to LIBOR that occurred during the period were taken into consideration with the overall change in the fair value of the debt for which we elected the fair value option for financial instruments. Specifically, cash flows are evaluated taking into consideration any derivatives through which Fannie Mae has swapped out of the structured features of the notes and thus created a floating-rate LIBOR-based debt instrument. The change in value of these LIBOR-based cash flows based on the Fannie Mae yield curve at the beginning and end of the period represents the instrument-specific risk.
16. Commitments and Contingencies
We are party to various types of legal actions and proceedings, including actions brought on behalf of various classes of claimants. We also are subject to regulatory examinations, inquiries and investigations and other information gathering requests. In some of the matters, indeterminate amounts are sought. Modern pleading practice in the U.S. permits considerable variation in the assertion of monetary damages or other relief. Jurisdictions may permit claimants not to specify the monetary damages sought or may permit claimants to state only that the amount sought is sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of the trial court. This variability in pleadings, together with our and our counsel’s actual experience in litigating or settling claims, leads us to conclude that the monetary relief that may be sought by plaintiffs bears little relevance to the merits or disposition value of claims.
On a quarterly basis, we review relevant information about all pending legal actions and proceedings for the purpose of evaluating and revising our contingencies, reserves and disclosures.
We have substantial and valid defenses to the claims in the proceedings described below and intend to defend these matters vigorously. However, legal actions and proceedings of all types are subject to many uncertain factors that generally cannot be predicted with assurance. Accordingly, the outcome of any given matter and the amount or range of potential loss at particular points in time is frequently difficult to ascertain. Uncertainties can include how fact finders will evaluate documentary evidence and the credibility and effectiveness of witness testimony, and how courts will apply the law. Disposition valuations are also subject to the uncertainty of how opposing parties and their counsel may view the evidence and applicable law. Further, FHFA adopted a regulation in 2011, which provides, in part, that while we are in conservatorship, FHFA will not pay claims by our current or former shareholders, unless the Director of FHFA determines it is in the interest of the conservatorship. The presence of this regulation and FHFA’s assertion that FHFA will not pay claims asserted in certain cases discussed below while we are in conservatorship creates additional uncertainty in those cases.
We establish a reserve for matters when a loss is probable and we can reasonably estimate the amount of such loss. For legal actions or proceedings where there is only a reasonable possibility that a loss may be incurred, or where we are not currently able to estimate the reasonably possible loss or range of loss, we do not establish a reserve. We are often unable to estimate the possible losses or ranges of losses, particularly for proceedings that are in their early stages of development, where plaintiffs seek indeterminate or unspecified damages, where there may be novel or unsettled legal questions relevant to the proceedings, or where settlement negotiations have not occurred or progressed.
Given the uncertainties involved in any action or proceeding, regardless of whether we have established a reserve, the ultimate resolution of certain of these matters may be material to our operating results for a particular period, depending on, among other factors, the size of the loss or liability imposed and the level of our net income or loss for that period.
In addition to the matters specifically described below, we are involved in a number of legal and regulatory proceedings that arise in the ordinary course of business that we do not expect will have a material impact on our business or financial condition. We have also advanced fees and expenses of certain current and former officers and directors in connection with various legal proceedings pursuant to our bylaws and indemnification agreements.