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Goldman, Morgan Stanley Near Settlements With Justice Department

thestreet.com | June 9, 2015

By Brittany Umar

Goldman Sachs (GS) is one of up to nine banks reportedly expected to pay billions of dollars in settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice over the sale of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the financial crisis. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (MS) could finalize their settlements within the next couple of weeks, as early as late June, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter. Other banks including Barclays (BCS), Credit Suisse (CS), Deutsche Bank (DB), HSBC (HSBC), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), UBS (UBS) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are expected to reach settlements in the coming months as well. The total amounts each bank will pay will reportedly be determined by its size and level of alleged misconduct on an individual basis. Overall, the banks could pay anywhere from several hundred million dollars to as much as $2 billion to $3 billion apiece. Once these settlements are finalized, the Justice Department may shift its focus to pursuing settlements with large U.S. regional banks tied to mortgage-backed securities they underwrote and sold, the Journal reported. The Justice Department has already reached settlements with J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C) and, most recently, Bank of America (BAC) for their roles in selling poor-quality mortgages before the crisis, totaling nearly $37 billion. Bank of America reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in August 2014 for $16.65 billion. That case marked the largest civil settlement with a single entity in American history, according to the Justice Department. The settlements have been reached in part because of the efforts of President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and its Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group.


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