RBC accused of using COVID-19 to acquire assets at low cost

by Steve Randall on 26 Mar 2020

A real estate investment trust has alleged that RBC has used the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak to acquire real estate assets at rock-bottom prices.

According to a Bloomberg report, a subsidiary of AG Mortgage Investment Trust Inc. claims that on March 23, RBC contacted it and said that the REIT’s mortgage-backed securities had seen a drastic decline in value due to the virus outbreak.

That meant the bank could require additional cash or securities. The REIT says that the valuations were not reflective of their true value.

The lawsuit says that RBC has not followed the actions of many other banks in not pursuing remedies against REITs.

The Bloomberg report cites a Wall Street Journal story that RBC has seized many commercial real estate debt seized from clients in recent days and will sell them to shore up finances.

RBC has not commented on the allegations, which have not been proven in court.

The case will be discussed Thursday in the federal court in Manhattan. The REIT is hoping for a block on RBC taking any actions on its assets.

The lawsuit states that selling the assets at auction “would not only dramatically and prejudicially underprice these securities to plaintiffs’ detriment, but would also likely precipitate a chain reaction of other banks being pressured to foreclose on other mREITs’ pledged securities, all at prices informed by the fire sale that defendants seek to hold.”

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