Yesterday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka applauded the announcement JPMorgan Chase reached a landmark settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice:
The $13 billion mortgage securities settlement with JPMorgan Chase is a major accomplishment in holding big banks accountable for causing the Wall Street financial crisis. We commend the leadership of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the other state attorneys general who refused to let the Wall Street banks off the hook for residential mortgage-backed securities fraud.
Today’s settlement would not have been possible without the decision by President Obama to establish the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and to provide prosecutorial resources to its Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group. The wisdom of this decision has been born out with JPMorgan’s record settlement.
We fully expect that law enforcement resources will be made available to pursue other banks. Fraud in the creation of residential mortgage-backed securities brought our economy to the brink of collapse. We cannot truly heal our economy and its financial system until lawbreakers on Wall Street are made to pay for their wrongdoing.
The AFL-CIO applauds U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan for negotiating a settlement that will provide significant relief for homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. It is fitting that a major portion of today’s settlement will help homeowners avoid foreclosure through principal write-downs.
However, more can and should be done to help struggling homeowners. In particular, we urge the Federal Housing Finance Agency to use its $4 billion share of the settlement to provide aid to homeowners. The simple fact is that we must aid underwater homeowners if we are going to restore our housing market to health.