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Chase’s $1 billion bad day

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Friday, September 20, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Thursday was a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" for Chase. The federal government hit JPMorgan Chase with $1 billion in fines yesterday for a bevy of shady practices, ranging from its splashy derivative trading that caused the "London Whale" debacle last year to the more mundane identity-theft protection service that ripped off millions of credit card holders.

The bank also was ordered to refund an additional $309 million to consumers and got slapped for its debt collection practices, though no fine was issued.

Chase swallowed $920 million in fines from various federal and U.K. agencies to settle charges over its credit-derivative trading practices that led to the massive $6 billion in trading losses in April 2012. The bank also admitted that it violated banking rules by not providing adequate risk controls on its trading of complex derivative bets.

The fines were split among the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ($300 million); the Securities and Exchange Commission ($200 million); the Federal Reserve ($200 million); and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority ($220 million).

But that wasn't all for Chase. The OCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Chase to pay $80 million in total fines for alleged problems with its identity-theft protection product it sold to its credit card holders. The bank is also required to refund $309 million to 2.1 million consumers.

The federal agencies said the bank did not deliver the full benefits of the ID-theft protection, even though consumers had paid for the product. It also charged upfront fees for the service even before it was delivered or charged without consumer approval. In some cases, consumers paid interest charges and fees when the service fee automatically charged to their credit card and exceeded their limits, the CFPB said.

The OCC also ordered Chase to clean up its debt collection practices and help affected consumers by providing payment, fixing inaccurate debt records and correcting account information sent to the credit bureaus.

The agency said the bank allegedly allowed court documents to be filed that weren't properly reviewed or notarized and contained financial errors favoring the bank. The claims include collections of credit card debt, student loan debt and auto loan debt. Mortgage debt was not included.

The agency further claimed that Chase failed to comply in some instances with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, which provides expanded consumer protections for active and deployed military personnel.

In all three instances, the bank acknowledged its "mistakes" in statements and insured that it was already working to fix these issues, if they had not been corrected already.

"We have made numerous changes that have made us a stronger, smarter, better company," company Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said in statement addressing the trading loss.

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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