JPMorgan Chase and the Justice Department are moving closer to a $13 billion settlement over the bank’s mortgage practices, a record penalty that would cap weeks of heated negotiating and underscore the extent of the bank’s legal woes.
To resolve an array of federal and state investigations into the bank’s sale of troubled mortgage securities to investors in the lead up to the financial crisis, the bank would be expected to pay about $9 billion in fines, according to a person briefed on the negotiations. JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank, is also likely to spend $4 billion in relief for struggling homeowners, another person briefed on the talks said.
The penalties eclipse what the bank previously offered to pay. Until now, JPMorgan was offering about $11 billion in total. It was also refusing to increase its offer until the Justice Department dropped a parallel criminal investigation into the bank’s sale of troubled mortgage securities to investors.
But the bank, one of the people briefed on the talks said, has tentatively backed down from that demand, a major victory for the government. The Justice Department is free to pursue its criminal investigation into the bank.
The deal materialized late Friday after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke on the phone to the bank’s top executives, one person said. Holder informed the executives that he could not shut down the criminal investigation, reiterating an argument he had made when he met in Washington last month with Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive.
The people briefed on the matter cautioned that the deal could still fall apart as the final details are being negotiated. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private negotiations.
A JPMorgan spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Brian Fallon, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment.