Bank Watch

Eric Holder asks lawyers to pursue bankers

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the National Press Club on Feb. 17, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Holder has asked U.S. attorneys involved in residential mortgage-backed securities cases to report in 90 days on whether they can develop cases against individuals.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the National Press Club on Feb. 17, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Holder has asked U.S. attorneys involved in residential mortgage-backed securities cases to report in 90 days on whether they can develop cases against individuals. AFP/Getty Images

If U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has his way, legal action might be brought against executives at banks for their roles in the subprime mortgage crisis, Bloomberg reported this week.

Here's an excerpt:

Holder, who is stepping down as soon as his successor, Loretta Lynch, is confirmed, has asked U.S. attorneys involved in residential mortgage-backed securities cases to report in 90 days on whether they can develop cases against individuals, he said Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington.

“That will be a report ultimately that will be given to Loretta to make determinations about whether further action is appropriate,” Holder said.

The story points out that Holder has faced criticism from lawmakers that the Justice Department failed to hold bank executives responsible for their roles in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The Justice Department also was faulted for resolving cases against banks with settlements that let them escape criminal charges by paying fines, improving controls and promising not to break the law, the story says.

Bank of America is among banks that have reached settlements with the government to resolve claims stemming from the mortgage and financial crisis. Just last August, the Charlotte-based bank struck a $17 billion settlement with the Justice Department over toxic mortgages. No individual at the bank was charged with a crime in connection with that case.

A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment.

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