JPMorgan begins to provide consumer help under $13 billion settlement

Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:02am EDT
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By Aruna Viswanatha

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co has begun to provide the debt forgiveness and other help to struggling homeowners under last year's $13 billion accord with federal and state authorities, though it has only turned over a handful of details, a monitor of the deal said in a report released on Tuesday.

Joseph Smith, who was appointed by the bank and governments to monitor a settlement over mortgage securities, said he determined that the largest U.S. bank had so far earned $6.3 million in so-called "credits" from either cutting borrowers' principal or agreeing to defer some payments on 100 loans in a test pool.

The bank receives extra credit for certain types of help and less for others, so the total is not a dollar-for-dollar accounting of the assistance provided.

In an interview, Smith said he didn't yet have enough information to assess whether the bank is on track to fulfill its obligations, which it has until 2017 to accomplish, but he expected to put a more comprehensive report out later this year.

JPMorgan agreed last November to pay $9 billion in cash and $4 billion in the form of loan modifications and other help to consumers to resolve federal and state claims that it misrepresented risky mortgage securities that it sold in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis.

While Smith said Chase had informed him it had provided more than the confirmed $6 million in help to struggling borrowers, he said the bank chose to first test whether it was accurately calculating its credit on the sample loan pool.

Chase is JPMorgan's brand for consumer loans.

"This really was a dry run," Smith said.   Continued...

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