$20 Billion In Fines Water Off A Duck's Back For JPMorgan

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To settle a barrage of government legal actions over the last year, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to penalties that now total $20 billion, a sum that could cover the annual education budget of New York City or finance the Yankees’ payroll for 100 years. It is also a figure that most of the nation’s banks could not withstand if they had to pay it. But since the financial crisis, JPMorgan has become so large and profitable that it has been able to weather the government’s legal blitz, which has touched many parts of the bank’s sprawling operations. The latest hit to JPMorgan came on Tuesday, when federal prosecutors imposed a $1.7 billion penalty on the bank for failing to report Bernard L. Madoff’s suspicious activities to the authorities. Yet JPMorgan’s shares are up 28 percent over the last 12 months. Wall Street analysts estimate that it will earn as much as $23 billion in profit this year, more than any other lender. And JPMorgan’s investment bankers, who on average earned $217,000 in 2012, can look forward to another lush payday as bonus season approaches. “The fines have been manageable in the context of the bank’s earnings capacity,” Jason Goldberg, a bank analyst at Barclays, said. “It makes $25 billion in revenue per quarter and has record capital.” [Dealbook]

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