After five years, the banks are starting to be held to account. Last week, JP Morgan:
The government’s attempts to hold banks accountable for their mortgage practices may finally be paying off. On Friday, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $5.1 billion to the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to resolve charges related to toxic mortgage securities sold before the financial crisis. That amount had been negotiated as part of a broader $13 billion settlement — yet to be finalized — between the bank and state and federal officials over the bank’s mortgage practices.
JP Morgan will pay a total of $13 billion in fines to the government, and apparently has not secured immunity against criminal prosecution. And this is just one bank: Countrywide, Bank of America, and many others were even more implicated in (and enriched by) the fraud that led to the mortgage meltdown, and subsequent collapse of property markets and local budgets.
Think of this amount in relation to the $14 billion in debt that Detroit is trying to get out from under, a number often tossed out ($14 billion!!) as if it’s catastrophic, an amount far beyond bailouts or creditor negotiations.
Read: Reparations From Banks – NYTimes.com. 10/25/13