Updated from 9:09 a.m. ET with early market action and additional comments from Rafferty Capital Markets analyst Richard Bove.
The Department of Justice has rejected a $3 billion settlement offer from JPMorgan, according to a Wall Street Journal report filed Tuesday night, citing an unnamed source. The bank was seeking to resolve multiple investigations by federal and state authorities into its sales of mortgage-backed securities.
The Justice Department rejected the offer as "too low for the number of cases involved," according to the report, however, "the discussions have widened to include other investigations of J.P. Morgan, and the final tally could be larger," according to the Journal's source.Considering the continuing flow of investigations and leaks, it seems clear that JPMorgan Chase needs to bite the bullet and enter into a global settlement to clean the slate with regulators, the Justice Department and state attorneys general looking to get in on the action. The highest proposed settlement figure that has been thrown out there so far is $20 billion, which, according to a New York Times DealBook report on Monday was "discussed at the bank," according to unnamed sources, although "it is not clear who proposed that number." According to DealBook, "the Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have discussed the possibility of striking a wide-ranging settlement to conclude many of the looming mortgage investigations from federal authorities and state attorneys general." Investors' reaction last Thursday was muted, after JPMorgan entered into a $920 million settlement with four regulators over the "London Whale" hedge trading debacle. Later on Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said JPMorgan had already refunded $309 million to 2.1 customers, with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency also assessing a $60 million fine, spring from the two regulators' combined investigation of its " illegal credit card practices." JPMorgan's shares only pulled back 1% last Thursday, despite the day's $1.289 billion regulatory tab, possibly because that figure paled in comparison to the estimated $6.2 billion in losses from the hedge-trading problems during 2012. The $1.289 figure was also lower than the third-quarter litigation expenses CFO Marianne Lake hinted at when speaking at a conference on Sept. 9.