20 Nov 2013

Bank makes record settlement with US govt

4:09 pm on 20 November 2013

Giant American bank JP Morgan has agreed to a record settlement with United States regulators for misleading investors during the housing mortgage crisis six years ago.

The $US13 billion settlement is the largest ever between the US government and a corporation, the BBC reports.

The bank has been under investigation for selling low-quality securities to investors who were unaware they were backed by faulty mortgage products.

Authorities say the practice led to the mortgage meltdown, with investors losing faith in the banking system, and the housing crisis turning into a financial crisis.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement: "The conduct uncovered in this investigation helped sow the seeds of the mortgage meltdown".

The settlement effectively settles civil action against the bank, but a criminal investigation by the Justice Department is continuing.

Bank says it did not break law

The bank acknowledged it made "serious misrepresentations to the public", but says it did not violate American laws.

JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon said: "We are pleased to have concluded this extensive agreement".

About $US4 billion of the settlement is to go to homeowners hurt by JP Morgan's practices.

Another $US7 billion will be paid to settle federal and state civil claims relating to misleading mortgage securities sold by the bank, Some of that will be given to investors who lost money.

The remaining $US2 billion will be paid to the US government as a fine.