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September 3, 2013

Chasing JPMorgan Chase

Not too long ago, JPMorgan Chase and its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, were celebrated for navigating the 2008 financial crisis, which brought other big banks to their knees. Now this one-time darling of federal regulators, long thought to be the best managed of all the big banks, is in trouble or apparently headed there on multiple fronts. While the outcome of the various investigations into the bank’s dealings remains unclear, they raise the obvious question of whether banks have become not only too big to fail but too big to manage.

In the past month alone, JPMorgan paid $410 million to settle accusations by federal regulators that it had manipulated energy markets in California and Michigan. Federal prosecutors are pursuing criminal and civil investigations into mortgage securities that JPMorgan sold to investors before the housing bust.

Meanwhile, two JPMorgan employees have been criminally charged in the London Whale fiasco. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether the bank’s hiring practices in China violated federal bribery laws. California is investigating the bank’s mortgage business; New York is investigating JPMorgan’s retail banking practices; and two federal agencies are reportedly on the verge of seeking damages for the bank’s alleged abuses of its credit card customers. All this and more comes on top of earlier settlements over allegations of abusive foreclosures and tainted tactics in a municipal bond deal.”

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Read full New York Times editorial here

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