Trump DOJ Gave Big Bank Violators a Slap on the Wrist in 2018, Public Citizen Finds
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last year, big banks that engaged in alleged abuses that fueled the 2008 financial crisis faced light punishments compared to previous years, including not having to admit their wrongdoings and providing no consumer relief, according to a new Public Citizen report.
The four major banks that settled with the Trump-controlled U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2018 for financial crisis-era allegations of toxic securities abuses – Royal Bank of Scotland, Wells Fargo, Barclays Capital and HSBC – saw 70 percent lower penalties than those imposed in similar cases under the Obama administration.
Also, unlike the Obama-era cases, the banks were allowed to settle while disputing the DOJ’s allegations, and none of the settlements provided consumer relief. Taken together, Obama’s penalties average out to $8.1 billion per case while Trump’s penalties average $2.4 billion.
“How can Trump call himself ‘tough on crime’ while he lets the industry that crashed our economy 10 years ago get away with slap-on-the-wrist penalties?” said Rick Claypool, a Public Citizen research director and report author. “Weak enforcement gives Wall Street wrongdoers a green light to ramp up risk and recklessness. We know how that ended last time.”
The analysis follows a January 2019 Public Citizen report that found DOJ penalties for all corporate violations also plummeted during Trump’s second year in office.
Read the new report (PDF).