Risk & Compliance

JPMorgan Settles With FDIC Over WaMu Deal

The bank will receive $645 million from the WaMu receivership estate in exchange for dropping more than $1 billion in indemnification claims.
Matthew HellerAugust 23, 2016

JPMorgan Chase will receive $645 million in a settlement that ends its long-running battle with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. over who was responsible for the legal liabilities of Washington Mutual after the bank crashed in 2008.

According to a regulatory filing, the money will come from WaMu’s estate, for which the FDIC acts as receiver. The regulator seized the bank after it failed during the financial crisis and then sold most of its assets to JPMorgan for about $1.9 billion.

The settlement resolves four lawsuits in which JPMorgan was seeking to recover “substantially in excess of a billion dollars” from the FDIC, arguing it should be indemnified for claims alleging WaMu duped investors into buying residential mortgage securities.

The FDIC will also allow Deutsche Bank, the trustee overseeing 99 trusts holding RMBS backed by soured WaMu home loans, to make a claim against the WaMu estate, allowing JPMorgan to avoid nearly $6 billion in legal liabilities.

The settlement “is a victory for JPMorgan and other banks who acquired failed financial firms during the 2008 financial crisis,” Zacks Equity Research said, adding that if JPMorgan had lost the litigation, “it would have discouraged other firms from acquiring failed banks.”

WaMu, the nation’s largest savings and loan company, collapsed with $310 billion of assets in the biggest failure in U.S. banking history. It had packaged billions of dollars of risky mortgages into securities and sold them to institutional investors in the run-up to the crisis.

The FDIC argued that JPMorgan assumed WaMu’s legal liabilities as part of the acquisition of its assets. But JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has said he would have demanded a much lower price for WaMu had he anticipated the huge legal costs from the deal.

JPMorgan shares have declined slightly since the settlement was announced. “We view the ending of WaMu claims as a positive for JPMorgan but the settlement proceeds do little to increase tangible book value and shares of JPMorgan still trade on TBV,” analysts at Keefe Bruyette & Woods said.