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Federal Leak Machine Continues to Harass JPMorgan Chase

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The shameless leaking by federal regulators concerning investigations and lawsuits against JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) is bound to continue, but there's ultimately a silver lining for investors.

The New York Times DealBook Tuesday night reported that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) were preparing enforcement actions against JPMorgan Chase over the sale of "credit protection" products to credit card customers.

According to the report, which cited unnamed sources, "the bank will have to acknowledge internal flaws and dole out at least $80 million in fines."

Another set of coming enforcement actions will focus on JPMorgan Chase's efforts to collect from delinquent credit card borrowers, through lawsuits filed from 2009 to 2011. These actions may not result in fines, according to the report.

The leak on Tuesday night followed a coordinated leak Tuesday afternoon, that the Federal Housing Finance Agency was seeking a $6 billion settlement of a mortgage putback lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase.

The FHFA regulates Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC), which continue to purchase the vast majority of mortgage loans originated in the U.S., after both companies were taken under government conservatorship in 2008. The FHFA sued JPMorgan and 17 other banks in 2011, claiming the banks had misrepresented the quality of mortgage loans sold to the two mortgage giants.

The regulatory actions over the attempts to sell identity-theft protection services to JPMorgan Chase's credit card customers are similar to those faced by Capital One (COF) in July 2012, when ordered by the CFPB to pay $210 million in fines and customer refunds over third-party efforts to sell "credit protection" products to its credit card customers.

The $80 million figure in DealBook's latest report on JPMorgan Chase is a drop in the bucket for the nation's largest bank, which managed to book its third-straight record annual profit of $21.3 billion, or $5.20 a share, during 2012, despite taking at least $6.2 billion in losses from the "London Whale" hedge trading debacle.

Speaking of the "London Whale," the Department of Justice may have felt left out of the federal leak fest. The Wall Street Journal -- citing "people close to the situation" -- on Wednesday reported that JPMorgan could be facing penalties of $500 million to $600 million as part of a settlement with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the OCC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and U.K. authorities.
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