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JP Morgan Chase Caught Holding OPM

Adam Rust's picture

Posted June 3, 2010

Regulators in England slapped a $48.5 million fine on JP Morgan Chase today, citing the bank's failure to segregate customer deposits from their own accounts.

Chase was playing with Other People's Money (OPM). Perhaps they have grown accustomed to that in a country where taxpayers buy bank stock, where banks can borrow on discount from the federal government, and all kinds of loans are backstopped by Uncle Sam.

Louis Brandeis warned us about this problem back in 1914.

In England, they are having none of that.

This is a stunning disregard for consumer safety. In essence, this practice gave a boost to JPM's balance sheet, but at the expense of their depositors.  Holders of deposits were denied insurance protection on their funds as a result. The sums were not small, either. The FSA, England's regulator of financial institutions, said that at times, the sum of money transferred into JPM accounts reached $23 billion.

How much is that? Quite a lot, actually. That is more than rests in many mid-sized US banks.  First Citizens of Raleigh, North Carolina, only has $12.7 billion in core deposits. RBC Centura - just $17.6 billion.

This might be one more reason why people should support the CFPA.