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TheStreet Open House

JPM Sees Light at End of Tunnel: KBW

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- KBW's global research team estimates big banks' legal tab from civil lawsuits by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, as well as lawsuits tied to manipulation of LIBOR and foreign exchange markets, could hit $100 billion.

After spewing your coffee, please take comfort, as this is an estimate for "the next decade."

According to a KBW research report published Wednesday, global investment banks have set aside $44 billion for legal expenses since the first quarter of 2012. "The banks have provisioned for more cases than they have settled for, something we feel the banks are often not given credit for," the analysts, led by Andrew Stimson, wrote.

A slew of global investment banks disclosed their cooperation with European and U.S. regulators' massive probe of possible manipulation of foreign exchange markets. Meanwhile, the LIBOR manipulation scandal continued to unfold with the privately held Rabobank of Utrecht, the Netherlands, settling for over $1 billion and its CEO resigning. The first of a slew of banks settling with regulators while admitting it had manipulated rates submissions for the compiling or the London Interbank Offered Rate was Barclays (BCS), which coughed up $454 million in June 2012, soon followed by the resignation of its CEO and Chairman

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) which regulates Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) in September 2011 sued 17 global banks at home and abroad over the sale of $196.2 billion in private label mortgage-backed securities to the government sponsored mortgage giants.

Most of those lawsuits are still unfolding, but JPMorgan Chase (JPM) last month settled with the FHFA, agreeing to pay $5.1 billion to Fannie and Freddie, while not admitting any wrongdoing.

The FHFA just wanted the money for the GSEs, which were taken under government conservatorship in September 2008. But JPMorgan is continuing to negotiate with the Department of Justice to settle other criminal and civil investigations of the company's mortgage lending and sales activities and will probably have to admit to some wrongdoing, according to myriad leaks to the media, which also peg the overall settlement amount at $13 billion, including the money being forked over to the FHFA.

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