During the 2008 financial meltdown, JP Morgan was often portrayed as the best big bank and the one most willing to work with the government to relieve the crisis. That is probably true, although Wells Fargo seems to have been relatively safe, too, if less interested in helping the government.
The recent settlement between JP Morgan and the government indicates that even the best bank was not very good. It was up to its ears in bad transactions for its customers and investors. It was creating the selling the junk that led to the financial crisis and that destroyed the savings of many home buyers. Jamie Dimon, the best of the big bank CEOs, turns out to have been pretty dirty. Something is rotten on Wall Street. During the recent stock market run-up to Dow 16,000 banks have been among those leading the way up, despite the fact that they seem to be corrupt. This and the recent insider trading convictions/settlements, like SAC’s, indicate that most of all of Wall Street is dirty, and thus likes their fellow dirty institutions, like the big banks.
This is not unusual; it happens in all countries where greed gets out of control, but it’s unfortunate that it is happening to the US now. It’s just another sign of decline. In a better country, the government would have reacted and reined in the miscreants. In this huge fraud, the profits from these illegal trades are so big that even a multi-billion dollar settlement is just a slap on the wrist.