“Wall Street could pay nearly $50 billion to buy peace from federal authorities who are taking aim at the banks over their role in the mortgage crisis, according to interviews and a confidential analysis of the industry’s potential legal exposure.
“Bracing for a potential reckoning, the banks and their outside lawyers are quietly using JPMorgan Chase’s record $13 billion mortgage settlement in November to do the math and determine just how much each bank might have to pay to move beyond the torrent of government mortgage litigation that has dogged them since the financial crisis. Such calculations, people briefed on the matter said, have gained particular urgency among the banks’ board members.
“If the settlements materialize, they could yield, according to the analysis, $15 billion in relief for consumers — a mixture of cash payments and other assistance, like reductions in the size of homeowners’ loan payments. A payment of $50 billion, made up of a string of separate deals, would amount to roughly half the total annual profit of large American banks in 2012. The $50 billion figure does not include JPMorgan’s $13 billion payout, which means the ultimate industry tab could exceed $60 billion, according to the analysis.”
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