THIS week, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank became the latest banking giants to finalise multi-billion dollar settlements with American authorities over misdeeds in the mortgage market in the run-up to the financial crisis. But other, less publicised settlements have hissed out of the waning Obama administration like a series of slow punctures: with Moody’s, a leading credit-rating agency; with Citadel Securities, a critical component of America’s equity-trading system; and with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. High-profile defendants all, but the most striking characteristic of the deals is how gently their tyres were let down.
The Moody’s deal, about high ratings accorded securities that crashed during the crisis, was announced late on January 13th, the Friday before a holiday weekend. The other cases were resolved almost as discreetly. Admittedly the amounts involved were comparatively small (Moody’s will pay $864m, Citadel $23m, and the Port Authority a mere $400,000). But the cases were bigger than the numbers suggest.
The Moody’s settlement will inflame suspicions that Wall Street is infested with conflicts…Continue reading