Big Bank’s Legal Tab: $66 Billion And Growing

Big banks have spent an estimated $66 billion on litigation in the past three and a half years, according to SNL Financial. And those numbers are expected to keep swelling, as federal prosecutors and the SEC continue to look at wrongdoings tied to the 2008 financial meltdown.

By Maureen Farrell  @maureenmfarrell

The government needs to move swiftly to prosecute crimes leading up to the credit crisis and extract more penalties from big banks. That’s because the statute of limitations for prosecuting many of these crimes is five years.

And with the five-year anniversary of the demise of Lehman Brothers just a month away, there is likely to be a lot more discussion about what the government has done to compensate victims of the financial crisis.

Related: Feds say JPMorgan broke securities laws in mortgage deals

The Obama administration has been continually criticized for not doing enough to prosecute the large financial institutions. While $66 billion in litigation costs is a staggering number, it’s a small portion of the $207 billion that the six largest financial institutions — Bank of America, Citigroup (CFortune 500),Goldman Sachs (GSFortune 500), JPMorgan Chase (JPMFortune 500), Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo (WFCFortune 500) — have earned in profits over the past three and a half years, according to FactSet.

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