Goldman Sachs Finally Pays Up…Gets Off Easy


Goldman Sachs will pay $5 billion to settle federal and state probes into the bank’s sale of mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Authorities said Goldman misrepresented the quality of loans it securitized and then sold to investors ahead of the housing bubble and 2008 crisis. The settlement includes a $2.4 billion civil penalty, $1.8 billion in relief payouts to underwater homeowners and affected borrowers and $875 million to resolve various other claims.

“This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,” acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery said in a statement.

The bank did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

It follows similar settlements with other major firms reached in the wake of the financial crisis. JPMorgan ChaseBank of AmericaCitigroup and Morgan Stanley all previously struck multi-billion dollar agreements with the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities working group, which was formed in 2012 to investigate practices in the mortgage market.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

Goldman had disclosed a preliminary deal earlier this year, but authorities outlined additional details of the bank’s conduct on Monday.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who co-chairs the working group, said the funds will aid the ongoing recovery. About $670 million will go to the state of New York for relief.

“This settlement, like those before it, ensures that these critical programs — such as mortgage assistance, principal forgiveness, and code enforcement — will continue to get funded well into the future, and will be paid for by the institutions responsible for the financial crisis,” he said in a statement.

Authorities said Goldman acknowledged that it received information indicating certain loans did not meet the standards it had described to investors. They also said the bank did not “typically” identify and eliminate loans with credit exceptions.

The DOJ also said Goldman acknowledged it received “certain negative information” about loan originators’ practices but did not share many of the findings with investors.

Goldman shares traded more than 1 percent higher Monday afternoon.

— The AP contributed to this report 

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