On July 16, Associate Attorney General Tony West outlined the DOJ’s approach to resolving cases involving residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS).  West noted that when deciding whether to settle or pursue civil RMBS cases against financial institutions, the DOJ looks to three principles:  accountability, transparency and redress.  West further stated that the Department would not hesitate to charge financial institutions for RMBS-related misconduct where the institution “is unwilling to admit its wrongful conduct . . . balks at paying a substantial penalty that reflects that conduct, or refuses to do right by those affected.”  Finally, West cited the success of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group, and the fact that it has already secured $20 billion in penalties, compensation and consumer relief.  He also noted that these civil settlements did not preclude the possibility of future criminal prosecutions.