2012 Bank Fines Top $10 Billion
Banks were fined a record of more than $10.7 billion in 2012 for various misdeeds ranging from manipulating interest rates to improperly foreclosing on distressed homeowners. The record $10.7 billion total includes only what banks paid to U.S. and state authorities, not the additional billions global banks also agreed to pay European regulators.
Just more than half of the fines were related to improper mortgage practices. Most of that recovered money was earmarked for refunds to consumers. For instance, $1.5 billion of a mortgage settlement with mortgage lenders announced in February was used to set up a fund to compensate borrowers whose homes were improperly sold or taken in foreclosure. Another $3.5 billion of that global settlement went to state and federal governments to cover the cost of housing counselors, legal assistance, and other consumer assistance programs. Wells Fargo paid $175 million in a July settlement to help minority homeowners who were sold subprime loans even though they qualified for less-costly traditional mortgages.
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