Earlier this week, HSBC agreed to pay a record fine for money laundering. And today, the Swiss banking giant UBS is reportedly going to agree to a $1 billion settlement over accusations it rigged LIBOR interest rates.
That fine is double what Barclays Bank paid over the summer in the LIBOR scandal, although we still await confirmation next week that they will actually pay this amount.
But analysts say that this penalty comes from not being the first to admit wrongdoing. Robert Cole of Reuters Breakingviews says this is a clear sign that U.S. and U.K. authorities want to punish the banks, but not completely gut them.
“The biggest you hear is about banks being ‘too big to prosecute,'” he says, “because the threat is quite high that the EU authorities could actually bring down the banks — which is the last thing they want to do, of course.”
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.