JPMorgan Chase reaches $4.5B settlement

AP Business WriterNovember 16, 2013 

JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Friday it has reached a $4.5 billion settlement with investors over mortgage-backed securities.

The settlement covers 21 major institutional investors. The mortgage-backed securities were issued by JPMorgan and Bear Stearns between 2005 and 2008. New York-based JPMorgan acquired the failing investment bank Bear Stearns in March 2008.

The deal is the latest in a series of legal settlements over JPMorgan's sales of mortgage-backed securities in the years preceding the financial crisis. As the housing market collapsed between 2006 and 2008, millions of homeowners defaulted on high-risk mortgages. That led to billions of dollars in losses for investors who bought securities created from bundles of mortgages. Those securities were sold by JPMorgan and other big Wall Street banks.

JPMorgan also has been negotiating with the U.S. Justice Department to settle a inquiry into its sales of mortgage-backed securities. The bank reached a deal last month to pay $13 billion, but the negotiations have hit a block.

As part of the $13 billion deal, $4 billion will resolve U.S. government claims that JPMorgan misled mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about risky mortgage-backed securities. That part was announced Oct. 25.

Fannie and Freddie were bailed out by the government during the crisis and are under federal control.

Mounting legal costs pushed JPMorgan to a rare loss in this year's third quarter, the first under CEO Jamie Dimon's leadership. The bank reported Oct. 11 that it set aside $9.2 billion in the July-September quarter to cover the string of legal cases against the bank. JPMorgan said it has placed a total of $23 billion in reserve to cover potential costs.

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