The Obama Administration announced a $335 million settlement deal with Bank of America to settle charges of discriminatory lending practices. Here is, in ascending order of importance, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Justice Department deserves praise for responding to illegal bank behavior more aggressively than it's done in the past. So does the Occupy movement, and so do the many Americans who have expressed their outrage over the lack of prosecutions and sweetheart bank deals. Without them it's unlikely we'd be seeing a deal like this at all.
But while the Justice Department has taken a first step, the proposed agreement seems designed to do only the bare minimum its framers hoped would be needed to quell public outrage. While it will be sold as bold and decisive, it's not. In fact, this deal perpetuates some of the worst failings of past settlements the government's made with big banks.
As we said, it has good features. But where it's ugly, it's very ugly indeed. Hopefully the judge who reviews it will bear that in mind. more »
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