7 years on from crisis, $150 billion in bank fines and penalties

Bank of America
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

More than seven years after the global financial collapse, regulators and investors are still working through an epic pile of lawsuits and other civil actions, collecting settlements, fines and other penalties for a long list of wrongdoing.

The latest settlement involved Bank of America, which agreed this week to pay $180 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank and others manipulate foreign-exchange rates, according to The Wall Street Journal. JPMorgan Chase has already settled with the same investor group, while others, including Citigroup, are expected to settle soon, the The Journal notes.

The 2013 lawsuit claimed bank traders shared customer information to profit at their clients' expense, according to the report.

The settlement follows a seven-year effort by federal and state regulators that included dozens of actions related to a broad range of misconduct and fraud, including bilking mortgage investors, laundering money and evading taxes. So far, banks and other institutions have paid more than $150 billion in fines, settlements and other penalties, according to a tally by the Financial Times.

That compares with roughly $700 billion in profits generated by U.S. banks between 2007 and 2014, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

Some of those involved charges against individual bankers. About 70 CEOs, CFOs and other senior corporate officers had been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission as of October, the latest data available. The SEC says it collected $3.6 billion in penalties and other payments related to the charges.

The biggest payments have gone to the Justice Department, which has collected some $50 billion, according to the FT tally.

Among the banks paying the biggest amounts, Bank of America tops the list—with nearly $58 billion, followed by JPMorgan Chase ($31.3 billion), Citigroup ($12.8 billion) and Wells Fargo ($9.7 billion).