Following the threat of a potential suit from the Justice Department in a Calif.-based federal court, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is said to be entering settlement talks with the U.S. government over the misrepresentation of mortgage-backed securities that it sold between 2005-2008, the years leading up to the financial crisis.
Originally a suit was expected on Sept. 24, but as of yet no complaint has been entered. This has been taken as a sign that settlement negations are in progress though no official word has been given.
While there is currently no official word on the subject, The New York Times reports that the settlement figures being discussed are between $3 billion and $7 billion and could include some relief to the struggling homeowners. The settlement talks are taking place between a number of government agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New York Attorney General’s office, according to media reports.
Accounts of settlement terms are coming from sources that are unwilling to be named, and these sources made it clear that nothing has been finalized and there is still potential for the deals to fall through.
The news does not bode well for J.P. Morgan, which just last week paid over $1 billion in fines related to multiple infractions, disbursing $920 million in settlements over the “London Whale” fiasco and shelled out another $80 million related to issues with its credit card marketing operations. The bank is still facing ongoing investigations for the former.
Additional fines in the billions would undoubtedly be painful for J.P. Morgan, but the alternative could be years of costly litigation against a multitude of federal and state agencies.