Raking in record profits and still paying extravagant compensation to executives, the nation’s largest banks treat billion-dollar fines as the cost of doing business. Little has changed since the Wall Street-fueled financial meltdown and taxpayer-financed bailout.
JPMorgan’s $13 billion settlement in November for its role in the mortgage-backed securities fiasco is one such cost of doing business. The New York Times reported on Friday that 16 other big banks are preparing for similar payouts, expecting to settle for an estimated $50 billion.
These payouts will not cause any of the biggest banks and their leaders to skip a beat. Shareholders will pay, no individuals will be held accountable for wrongdoing and the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law of 2010 will remain little more than a paper tiger.
An estimated $15 billion of the $50 billion settlement would go to consumers affected by bad loans, small compensation for the millions of Americans who lost jobs, homes and life savings when the bubble burst.
Business as usual for the captains of Wall Street.