Sen. Warren: Getting at the Truth of Those Big, Bogus Bank Penalties
Some of you might have been around when I photographed & blogged an early Tea Party event at Griffith Park. Before Pages! What drew me initially was the fiscal message and a primary candidate speech. Well, famously & to say the least, that has not gone so well.
And i’ll bet some of you recall when I went and did a little documentary video at Occupy LA. Again, it was the economic justice/fiscal message that drew me. Sadly, that movement also just did not go so well.
Along the same subject for me is this big economic message-Learn our lessons or else. Few have been reliably on this tack in our government. Even under Obama many have pointed out the sheer lack of prosecutions for the crimes that contributed to the Great Recession.
I will consistently lend my ear to those that promote sensible fiscal conservatism. I post on our Governor Jerry Brown from time to time. In that spirit I forward this to you. A high federal government official actually digging in to keep us informed and hold some feet to the fire as much as she can. Kudos.
The worst recent example of a settlement that looks tough on the outside but comfy on the inside may be the $13-billion settlement JPMorgan reached with regulators in November over its chicanery in the mortgage securities market. As we observed at the time, the regulators crowed that it was “the largest settlement with a single entity in American history,” to quote the Department of Justice.
But it wasn’t what it seemed. First, of the $13-billion total, $7 billion was tax deductible by JPMorgan, which could save the company nearly $2.5 billion. Another $4 billion represented a settlement the bank reached earlier with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Another $4 billion wasn’t a cash outlay, but included $2 billion in forgiveness of principle for homeowners with underwater mortgages — borrower relief sure to save Morgan money in the long run, for there’s nothing more costly for a mortgage lender than having borrowers go into foreclosure. Another $2 billion involved “credits” the bank will receive to bump up lending in low-income communities.
So what looked like $13 billion really penciled out at around $6.5 billion. Under the Warren/Coburn act, presumably, this would be stated up front without requiring members of the public to do the math themselves.