NEW YORK ( Reuters Blogs) -- JPMorgan Chase is the first big bank to suffer a quarterly loss on account of multi-billion-dollar legal bills. It is also the most profitable bank in America (or was, up until recently). Which means there are three possibilities here:
- The profits and the fines share a common cause: The internal behavior which produces massive profits also -- eventually -- has a tendency to produce massive fines. The profits and the fines are unrelated: It's just unfortunate bad luck that such a well-run, profitable bank should come unstuck in this manner. The profits in some way caused the fines: Regulators feel comfortable going after JPMorgan precisely because it has a fortress balance sheet and can easily pay the fines.