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Regulators investigating JPMorgan, Bank of America for money laundering

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC, the federal agency that oversees the biggest banks is reportedly investigation Bank of America and JPMorgan on suspicion of money laundering. According to the New York Times, officials spoke of the investigation on the condition of anonymity.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The OCC could soon take action against JPMorgan Chase & Co., and that it is also investigating Bank of America Corp.

Money laundering is a common criminal practice where people make money from illegal means and then re-route to make it appear like it came from a different source.

The financial industry has lost favor with the U.S. public over the past few years. Hidden fees, debit transactions and the like has made many American learn to live without banks. Regulators are under increasing pressure to prove that banks are not doing any questionable activity. In order to win back the public's trust.

British bank Barclays PLC settled charges that it had manipulated a key global interest rate this past summer. Standard Chartered PLC, also in the U.K., agreed to settle charges that it had improperly processed money for Iran. JPMorgan surprised shareholders with an unexpected trading loss last spring.

If the OCC presses forward, the outcome could be similar to a cease-and-desist order that it filed against Citigroup in April. OCC said at the time that Citi had deficient internal controls and anti-money laundering procedures. In bank regulation, a cease-and-desist order doesn't mean that a bank has to shut down -- but it is a serious sanction that requires a bank to change its practices. Citi had already told the regulator that from 2006 to 2010, it had "failed to adequately monitor" some of its transactions connected to "foreign correspondent banking."

The orders instructed Citigroup to tighten its rules so it could improve compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and related regulations. The Secrecy act requires financial institutions to report suspicious activity.

JPMorgan paid $88 million to settle charges from the Treasury that it had unlawfully processed money for Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Liberia last year.

JPMorgan said at that time it had had no intent to violate regulations, pointing out that it oversaw "hundreds of millions of transactions and customer records per day, and annual error rates are a tiny fraction of a percent."

It's likely that the banks in question will be accused of faulty oversight that made any unlawful transactions possible. The industry has maintained that such violations are almost always unintentional.


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