The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

JPMorgan Chase is scapegoat for others’ crime

Remember the financial crisis back in 2008? Well, someone’s finally getting blamed for it, and that someone is JPMorgan Chase.

How would you react to being sued $13 billion? You’d be upset, for sure, and probably wonder what anyone could have done to deserve this.

But in three months alone at the beginning of last year, the financial giant made $5.4 billion according to CNN.

The average American makes a little over $50,000 a year. A person making this average yearly income would be in debt for dozens of decades.

But why should JPMorgan Chase be sued when what they did, in a nutshell, was bail out the U.S. government? Does that seem fair?

“The bank and the government are arguing over whether JPMorgan (Chase) should be forced to pay for mistakes made by Washington Mutual, the failed mortgage lender it bought during the financial crisis,” according to NBC.

So was JPMorgan Chase the right and only group to pin the blame on?

Not really.

“It seems JPMorgan is being punished unfairly for its kind-hearted assistance to the U.S. government at its darkest hour,” Mark Gongloff wrote in an article for The Huffington Post. “That should make JPMorgan and other massive banks far less likely to come to the rescue in the next financial crisis in Wall Street’s view.”

Many Americans disagree with Gongloff’s view.

“If you decided to be a part of it, you have to take responsibility,” said first-year Taylor Brown.  “They have to reap what they (sowed) and deal with the lawsuit.”

At the same time, Gongloff wasn’t exactly sympathetic.

“Before we start playing the world’s smallest violin for America’s biggest bank … it is worth remembering that JPMorgan … knew the risks when they bought Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual,” Gongloff wrote. “They took the good with the bad.”

Even if the bank took a risk, shifting the entire blame on them for a financial crisis they didn’t construct isn’t okay.

“My  only hope is that the next time a large financial institution gets into trouble and the government calls a large bank CEO to help with a bailout that he chooses not to pick up the phone,” said bank analyst Gerard Cassidy to Wall Street’s MoneyBeat blog.

Even though it isn’t fair to be punishing JPMorgan Chase, is $13 billion enough? It’s a hardship, but certainly not enough to cover a financial depression.

“If JPMorgan Chase is a scapegoat, it is an extremely well-paid scapegoat,” said Mark Gongloff in a Huffington Post article.

So, let’s talk about the money itself.

“The settlement includes $9 billion in fines and penalties and $4 billion in ‘consumer relief,’ including home loan modifications,” said a law enforcement officer in an interview with CNN.

Great — so the people are going to get $4 billion dollars. But that still leaves roughly 70 percent up in the air. We have no idea where it’s going.

Let’s recap: JPMorgan Chase is being sued for bailing the government out. They’re also being sued an absurdly small amount of money for the company that they are. Lastly, we’re not entirely sure where the money is going.

Overall, this conclusion is far from satisfying.

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