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Feds Seek $6 Billion From J.P. Morgan: Financial Times

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Federal regulators are seeking a $6 billion payment from J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) to settle allegations of falsely claiming loans sold to government-sponsored enterprises met required underwriting standards, according to the Financial Times.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) regulates Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC), and in 2011 sued J.P. Morgan and 17 other banks over misrepresentations of the quality of mortgage loans sold to the two mortgage giants.

Fannie and Freddie were taken under government conservatorship at the height of the credit crisis in September 2008.

JPMorgan has refused the $6 billion settlement figure, but "expects to settle for billions of dollars," according to the unnamed sources cited in the report.

The Financial Times also said that a large percentage of the loans in question were sold by Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns, before those companies were acquired by JPMorgan. Washington Mutual was the largest U.S. bank every to fail, and was purchased from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in September 2008.

The $6 billion figure from the Financial Times report is only the latest in series of negative headlines, which have kept JPMorgan Chase's stock trading at a significantly lower valuation than most other large-cap U.S. banks.

Rafferty Capital Markets analyst Richard Bove on Monday cut his rating on the bank to "hold" from "buy," while lowering his price target for the shares to $57 from $60.00. Bove cited "clear risks to company earnings as a consequence of the government vendetta" against the company.

According to JPMorgan's second-quarter 10-Q filing, there are six separate investigations by the Department of Justice against the company, along with four investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and three by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase fell over 3% on Tuesday to close at $50.60, on a day of weakness for the overall market and especially the financial sector, as the United states geared up for a possible attack on Syria.

JPM Chart JPM data by YCharts

Interested in more on JPMorgan Chase? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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