The Price To Keep Bankers Out Of Jail: $110 Billion And Rising

Tyler Durden's picture

Six years after the greatest financial crisis in modern history, not a single prominent - and bailed out - banker (or frankly any for that matter) has gone to prison. Still, in the great squid pro non-jail quo, regulators and the DOJ have had to be appeased somehow. That "somehow", as has been revealed over the past several years, is with quarter after quarter of massive legal charges, settlements, penalties and so on. Of course, since the banks wouldn't exist in the first place if it wasn't for a multi-trillion taxpayer bailout, they don't mind because the math is quite simple: being converted into a government utility is better than being bankrupt anyday. Also, it is shareholder money, not an actual clawback (oh, the horror).

So what is the total amount of shareholder (and by implication, taxpayer) money that has been spent by the bankers to distract regulators and the "cops" from not jailing a single one of them? According to the following chart from the WSJ, just the six biggest offenders have spent over a whopping $110 billion to keep the government happy and the US prison population in check.

Here, one could add a tangent, that the more money spent on settlements by any given bank, the more in need of a bailout it was in the first place. In which case one dreads to think just how bankrupt Bank of America will be when the next inevitable crisis hits, and how many trillions in taxpayer bailout funds it will need next time around...

Source: WSJ