Shhh! FDIC made settlement deals with banks rather than sue-- and promised not to tell.


banks too big to jailwhat's the big secret

Elizabeth Warren said, “When banks are too big to fail, too big to jail, too big for trial, too big to regulate, too big to shrink… they are just too big.”

Gee, ya think she's on to something? She also said:

This is wrong — just plain wrong. We are a country that believes in equal justice under the law — not special deals for the big guys. And that’s not all the special deals that the big banks get.

Which brings us to a rather lengthy L.A. Times above-the-fold front-pager that could have been subtitled:


[T]he government cut a deal with the bank's lawyers to keep it quiet: a "no press release" clause that required the FDIC never to mention the deal "except in response to a specific inquiry." [...]

Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Times obtained more than 1,600 pages of FDIC settlements, made from 2007 through this year with former bank insiders and others accused of wrongdoing. The agreements constitute a catalog of fraud and negligence: reckless loans to homeowners and builders; falsified documents; inflated appraisals; lender refusals to buy back bad loans.

Defendants benefit by settling because they can avoid admitting guilt and limit the damages they might face in court. The FDIC benefits by collecting money without the hassle and expense of litigation. The no-press-release arrangements help close those deals.

Here's what Quicken Loans spokeswoman Paula Silver had to say:

"Quicken Loans and the FDIC entered into a 'confidential' agreement nearly three and a half years ago which clearly states that no party admits liability nor wrongdoing."

Former bank examiner Richard Newsom, who specialized in insider-abuse cases for the FDIC in the aftermath of the S&L debacle, said he couldn't understand the shift, unless the agency doesn't "want people to know how little they are settling for."

And coincidentally, as I was writing this up, I spotted this tweet:

tweet fdic deals banks