JPMorgan in tentative $13 billion deal with U.S. Justice Department: source

Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:13pm EDT
 
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By Aruna Viswanatha

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co has reached a tentative $13 billion agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to settle government agency investigations into bad mortgage loans the bank sold to investors before the financial crisis, a source said on Saturday.

The tentative deal does not release the bank from criminal liability for some of the mortgages it packaged into bonds and sold to investors, a factor that had been a major sticking point in the discussions, the source said.

As part of the deal, the bank will likely cooperate in criminal inquiries into certain individuals involved in the conduct at issue, the source, who declined to be identified, said.

Officials at JPMorgan and the Justice Department declined to comment.

Another source close to the discussions characterized a deal as likely, but cautioned that parts of the agreement are still being hammered out, and the settlement could conceivably fall apart.

The record settlement could help resolve many of the legal troubles the New York bank is facing. Earlier this month JPMorgan disclosed it had stockpiled $23 billion in reserves for settlements and other legal expenses to help cover the myriad investigations into its conduct before and after the financial crisis.

The deal is being hammered out by some of the most senior officials at the Department of Justice and the largest U.S. bank. Attorney General Eric Holder and JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon spoke on the phone on Friday night to finalize the broad outlines of the broad deal, the first source said.

The bank's general counsel Stephen Cutler and Associate Attorney General Tony West are negotiating a statement of facts that will be part of a final agreement, the source said.   Continued...

 
A sign outside the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in New York, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar