Legal costs blast J.P. Morgan’s bottom line

The company sets aside $9 billion for legal costs, causing quarterly loss

J.P. Morgan’s financial woes continue to snowball, as the company’s decision to set aside $9 billion to add to a fund to address its continuing legal troubles has led to a rough quarterly report.

The company is staring down the barrel of what could be the largest ever settlement with the U.S. government over mortgage securities issues. The case is still ongoing, but reports have stated that J.P. Morgan could be on the hook for at least $11 billion in fines.

To help buffer the potential fines and legal costs, the company has set aside $9 billion, bringing its total pool of funds for these costs to a reported $23 billion. This $9 billion earmark did not come without additional costs, however.

The bank released its quarterly earnings on October 11, and the news was not good. It tallied a loss of $380 million, which is a far cry from the same quarter last year, where J.P. Morgan racked up a net income of $5.71 billion.

This is the first quarterly loss for the bank since 2004, and the first the company has experienced under the stewardship of CEO James Dimon. J.P. Morgan was one of the few major banks to avoid posting a quarterly loss during the financial crisis of 2008.

The potential $11 billion price tag the J.P. Morgan faces is a result of ongoing troubles with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It includes $7 billion in fines to the DOJ and $4 billion that would be paid to homeowners.

Senior Editor

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A. in English Literature...

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