WSJ: Overheard On The Street Sometimes Less Isn't More -- It's Just Less

Take this week's announcement by Bank of America of a settlement with Fannie Mae over mortgages. Given its importance, investors would understandably have turned to BofA's release to figure out what had transpired.

But this wasn't entirely illuminating. For example, BofA's release said it would pay $3.6 billion in cash and $6.75 billion to repurchase loans from Fannie.But it didn't specify that it would also pay $1.3 billion over fees related to foreclosure delays. Investors could pick up on that only from Fannie's release or by combining information in BofA's release with prior disclosures in its security filings.
Another issue involved the kinds of loans Fannie bought. The bank didn't provide a breakdown, Fannie did. BofA also announced it was selling $306 billion in mortgage-servicing rights but not how much. Investors had to go to a release from Nationstar Mortgage, which said it paid $13 billion for $215 billion of the rights. Big banks are tough enough to figure out. BofA shouldn't make it tougher.