Market Overview

A Tale Of 2 Banks: JPMorgan Surrendered To The Attorney General, Barclays Chose War

A Tale Of 2 Banks: JPMorgan Surrendered To The Attorney General, Barclays Chose War

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM)'s CEO Jamie Dimon sat down with former Attorney General Eric Holder back in 2013 to discuss a settlement stemming from the bank's role in selling toxic mortgage-backed securities which led to the financial crisis of 2007/2008.

Dimon told Bloomberg in an interview that his approach was quite simple — he was looking to make peace and reach a settlement as quickly as possible.

"I said, Eric, I'm here to surrender," Dimon said in his interview. "You're my judge and my jury. I have no choice."

Just one month later, the bank and Holder reached a $13 billion settlement.

Dimon's approach stands in complete contrast to the path that James "Jes" Staley, a former JPMorgan executive and now CEO of Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE: BCS) who chose to declare war with the U.S. government over its settlement negotiations.

Barclays Chooses 'War'

The U.S. government sued Barclays on Thursday as negotiations between the two entities stalled.

Bloomberg, citing a "person with knowledge of the matter," reported that talks between Staley and his team with the U.S. government were poor from day one. The government proposed a penalty, which was so high, the bank assumed it was merely a negotiating tactic.

Barclays believed that its penalty should be proportional to its market share in the mortgage-backed securities market during the financial crisis, but the government argued this metric doesn't measure wrongdoing.

Bloomberg added that the government then asked for a $5 billion fee, but Barclays refused to pay more than $2 billion.

As noted by Bloomberg, Staley is hoping his bank can get a better deal when President-elect Donald Trump assumes the White House. On the other hand, David Hendler, founder of credit analysis firm Viola Risk Advisors, told Bloomberg that the London-based bank is merely "stringing along because they just don't have the earnings power to pay a huge fine right now," and by holding out and refusing any settlement, it is now getting some "breathing room."

Image Credit: By Man vyi (Own work (own photo)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted-In: Bloomberg Eric HolderNews Politics Legal Events Media General Best of Benzinga


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