JPMorgan, Credit Suisse settle SEC case
By Marcy Gordon ,AP
November 18, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
WASHINGTON -- JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse have agreed to pay a combined US$417 million to settle federal civil charges of selling risky mortgage bonds to investors that the banks knew could fail ahead of the 2008 financial crisis.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says JP Morgan failed to tell investors that mortgages tied to the bonds were delinquent. And both banks failed to properly disclose practices that allowed them to profit while investors lost millions, the SEC says.
JPMorgan is paying US$296.9 million. Credit Suisse will pay US$120 million. The banks agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying wrongdoing. The money will go to the investors, the SEC said.
It is the latest case against major financial firms for their conduct in the years preceding the 2008 crisis. When the real estate bubble burst, home values plunged and millions of people lost their homes. Investors who bought the securities backed by mortgages lost billions.
Robert Khuzami, the agency's enforcement director, said in a statement that inaccurate statements by banks in packaging and selling mortgage bonds "contributed greatly to the tremendous losses suffered by investors once the U.S. housing market collapsed."
JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, previously settled similar charges over mortgage securities with the SEC in June 2011 and agreed to pay US$153.6 million.
Goldman Sachs & Co. agreed in July 2010 to pay US$550 million to settle charges of misleading buyers of complex mortgage investment.
JPMorgan noted in a statement that the SEC accused the bank of negligence but not intentional misconduct.
"J.P. Morgan is pleased to have reached agreement with the SEC to put these matters ... behind it," the statement said.
The SEC's allegations against JPMorgan included risky mortgage bonds sold by Bear Stearns. JPMorgan bought Bear Stearns when it was near failure in March 2008, six months before the peak of the crisis.