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Top Democratic Lawmaker Wants More Information from Big Banks on Settlements

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Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, has written a letter to more than a dozen big banks and investment banking firms requesting more information on settlement they have entered into with 15 government enforcement agencies since January 1, 2005.

Brown wants to know if the banks are in compliance with their respective settlements and asked for information regarding the banks' compliance procedures, particularly those initiated after the settlements; the amount of legal fees the banks paid; any sanctions imposed along with the names and positions of employees on which sanctions were imposed; and any non-public agreements the banks made with government enforcement agencies, according to a report from Bloomberg.

"[A]t my direction as ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Minority staff is reviewing issues related to the compliance with, and enforcement of, laws, statutes, regulations, and rules governing the operations of financial institutions," Brown wrote in the letter, which was dated September 30, 2015.

The recipients of the letters were not made public, but citing a "person familiar with the matter," Bloomberg said the recipients included JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank.

"[A]t my direction as ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Minority staff is reviewing issues related to the compliance with, and enforcement of, laws, statutes, regulations, and rules governing the operations of financial institutions."

Several of these institutions have entered into multi-billion dollar settlements with the government for their roles in mortgage meltdown and financial crisis, notably JPMorgan Chase ($13 billion in November 2013), Citi ($7 billion in July 2014), and Bank of America ($16.65 billion in August 2014). These institutions are regularly checked by independent monitors to ensure they are complying with the terms of their respective settlements.

Brown listed his staff investigator Bob Roach as the contact for the letter recipients, which may be troubling to the banks since Roach is known for his investigations on such firms as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank as a member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, according to reports. Brown has requested that the banks deliver the information he is seeking on or before October 28.

Also, according to reports, despite using the Senate Banking Committee letterhead, a spokesperson for the Committee said that Brown's letter was not sanctioned by the Committee. The letter was not signed by Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama).

To view a copy of the letter, click here.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.
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