“Slap in the Face” Award: The Email That Cost Big Banks $36 Billion

Steve McDonald
by Steve McDonald

Here’s a real cheek smacker from the banking industry to all us suckers out here who are paying the bills.

Everyone, I’m sure, knows that the government is whacking the big banks with fines for misconduct prior to the collapse in 2007 and 2008. But did you know that one person, who was working from home to take care of his children and digging through a mountain of documents , found one email from one JPMorgan employee that set in motion all of the fines Citibank, JPMorgan and Merrill Lynch have paid?

One email that said, it, JPMorgan, was putting bad loans into financial products it was selling to its clients.

That one email eventually resulted in a total of $36 billion in fines - $16.5 billion just from Bank of America.

One email from one employee!

And the banks screamed bloody murder that the fines were unreasonable and the law used to force the settlements was an old one from the Savings and Loan crisis of the late ’80s that has a lower burden of proof required than current fraud laws.

Well, let’s see just how unjust it was. Shall we?

The total loss from the garbage products these firms knowingly sold to their investors was $128 billion. Billion!

Fines of $36 billion seem pretty reasonable when you consider how much the company literally stole from people.

“Stole” seems too harsh, you say? How about these apples…

Another email from a Bank of America executive to his bosses described the mortgages being included in their mortgage products as the worst he had ever seen.

A trader at JPMorgan described them this way, also in an email: “These mortgages are like fat kids in a dodgeball game. They’re better left on the sidelines.”

And the fines were unreasonable?

These scumbags cost a lot of people everything they had. Savings and retirements down the drain because these mortgages should have been left on the sidelines.

By the way, $36 billion is one quarter’s earnings for the whole banking industry.

How long do you think it will take the small investors who bought this garbage to recover from their losses?

I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear things like this. It’s the poor kid in me who watched coalminers and their kids struggle to put food on the table.


The next time you have an urge to send an email, think for a moment about who could see it many years later and why they might be looking at it. It could cost you a lot of money.

Do you agree with Steve? Give us your opinion in the comments below.

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