5 Biggest Company Fines in Finance

Contentworks Agency
3 min readSep 4, 2023

Financial companies are subject to a whole bunch of regulations primarily designed to protect consumers. And of course, to ensure that the financial system doesn’t completely unravel. Not all companies play ball though, and when they fail to comply with the rules, the law comes a-knockin’. Today, we’ll present 5 of the heftiest fines in the history of finance, before going over the top tradeable events of the coming week.

You get a fine, you get a fine…

Here are some of the biggest fines to date:

#1 JPMorgan Chase

In 2020, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $13 billion to settle charges that it failed to properly manage its risk and that it misled investors about its financial condition.

It all goes back to the 2008 financial crisis, remember that one? This fine is a penalty for everything the bank did wrong with mortgages during that time. Some of that was at JP Morgan itself, but most of it was at Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, two banks that JP Morgan bought in 2008.

$13 billion is a huge chunk of cash and, as you may have imagined, is the largest fine ever imposed on a bank for failing to manage risk. It could have been even worse, though. The bank’s entire liability from the crisis was worth around $33 billion!

#2 BNP Paribas

In 2014, BNP Paribas agreed to pay $9 billion to settle charges that it violated US economic sanctions against Sudan, Iran, and Cuba.

The French bank was formally ordered to forfeit $8.83 billion and pay a $140 million fine as part of the sentence.

At the time, Prosecutor Jennifer Ambuehl said the Justice Department would evaluate distributing the $3.84 billion in forfeitures it received in the deal to people harmed by Sudan, Cuba and Iran.

The programme covered anyone harmed in atrocities connected to the country’s policies between 2004 and 2012.

#3 Deutsche Bank

In 2017, Deutsche Bank was forced to pay $7.2 billion to settle charges that it misled investors about the quality of its mortgage-backed securities.

This episode wasn’t dissimilar to that of JPMorgan and was related to the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities during the 2008 financial crisis.

At the time, the US Department of Justice said that from 2005 to 2007, Deutsche Bank “…repeatedly misrepresented the characteristics of the loans backing securities they sold to investors throughout the world, who incurred billions of dollars in losses”.

The DoJ had originally wanted the fine imposed to be $14 billion, but it was lowered over fears that the total failure of the bank could pose a risk to the global financial system.

#4 Wells Fargo

In 2018, the 4th largest bank in the US, Wells Fargo, agreed to pay $3 billion to settle charges over creating millions of fake accounts for its customers. Naughty Wells Fargo!

Under pressure to meet sales quotas, bank employees opened millions of savings and checking accounts in the names of actual customers, without their knowledge or consent. Wow.

Apparently, bank employees began calling this process “gaming”. It included opening accounts without a customer’s knowledge, issuing credit and debit cards, and even moving money from existing accounts to fraudulently opened ones. Crazy stuff!

#5 Rabobank

In 2019, Rabobank was fined $1 billion for manipulating the London Interbank offered rate (LIBOR), a key interest rate used in financial markets.

30 employees at the Dutch bank, the largest mortgage lender in the Netherlands, were involved in manipulating the LIBOR and Euribor, benchmarks for more than $300 trillion of financial products.

Did we miss one?

Did you expect to see a different hefty fine on this list? Let us know what we missed by tweeting (or “X-ing”) us at @_contentworks.

Top fundamental events week commencing 04.09.23

There’s not a huge amount to shout about this week. Here’s what’s coming up…

Monday

● EUR — German Balance of Trade

Tuesday

● AUD — RBA Interest Rate Decision

Wednesday

● AUD — GDP Growth Rate QoQ

● USD — ISM Services PMI

Thursday

● AUD — Balance of Trade

● CNY — Chinese Balance of Trade

● CAD — Ivey PMI s.a

Friday

● CAD — Unemployment Rate

Here at Contentworks we closely follow market movements and prep content that we think your traders would love to read. Let’s get you started right here.

Speak soon!

The Contentworks team

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Contentworks Agency

Contentworks Agency provides compliance friendly content to banks, forex brokers, fintechs and many other sectors.