These Are The 10 Biggest Bank Fines Of 2020

succo / Pixabay

Banking regulators around the globe were busy last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Like any other year, the regulators imposed heavy fines on banks and financial institutions for a range of indiscretions, including money laundering, tax evasion and market manipulation. It is estimated that total bank fines amounted to more than $14 billion in 2020, with the U.S. accounting for the majority of them with 12 bank fines. Anti-money laundering (AML) breaches were the most common violation last year. Detailed below are the ten biggest bank fines of 2020.

We have referred to multiple online sources, including Finbold, Comsure and others, to come up with the list of the ten biggest bank fines of 2020:

  1. Scotiabank ($127 million)

This Canadian bank was penalized by U.S. regulators in August over charges of metals market manipulation. Scotiabank faced both civil and criminal allegations due to the manipulative orders of the futures contracts placed by four traders at the bank. The bank was also charged for misleading the regulators during the initial investigation. Scotiabank reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

  1. Deutsche Bank ($150 million)

This German Bank was hit with a fine of $150 million by New York state regulators in July. The regulators charged the bank for failing to properly monitor its relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Further, the investigation revealed that Epstein used the bank’s services from 2013 to 2018, and that the bank allowed him to transfer millions of dollars.

  1. JPMorgan ($250 million)

Two months after being penalized for $920 million, JPMorgan had to pay a fine again in November. This time it was over deficiencies in internal controls and internal audit practices. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) found deficiencies in the risk management practices. Moreover, the bank also failed to put up sufficient checks to avoid conflicts of interest.

  1. Swedbank ($386 million)

This Swedish bank was fined in March last year over severe deficiencies in its anti-money laundering measures. Authorities in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had been investigating the bank since February 2019 following reports of potentially suspicious transactions passing through its Estonian branch. Swedbank was also fined for not sharing documents with the Swedish and Estonian regulators.

  1. Citigroup ($400 million)

Citibank was ordered to pay a $400 million fine in October over serious “deficiencies” in its enterprise-wide and compliance risk management. The regulators also found “deficiencies” in the data governance and internal controls. These deficiencies were reportedly in the back office and had no impact on the customers. Later, the bank said that it invested more than $1 billion into making structural changes.

  1. Bank Hapoalim ($874 million)

Bank Hapoalim, which is Israel’s biggest bank, and its Swiss subsidiary were fined for a tax-evasion scheme, as well as for money-laundering. According to the DOJ (Department of Justice), the Israeli bank conspired with U.S. taxpayers to keep more than $7.6 billion in over 5,500 secret Swiss and Israeli bank accounts and not revealing them to the IRS. The court filings revealed that the bank carried on these practices from 2002 to 2014.

  1. Westpac ($920 million)

This Australian bank was hit with a fine in September for money laundering breaches. It was found that the bank did not properly report over 19 million international transactions. Some of these transactions were linked to child exploitation rings. Moreover, Westpac also didn’t have records of the origin of the transactions. Westpac reportedly breached the law more than 23 million times. It was the biggest fine in Australian corporate history.

  1. JPMorgan ($920 million)

After being accused of fraudulent activity, JPMorgan agreed to pay $920 million in September. The fine was paid to the CFTC (Commodities and Futures Trading Commission) and DOJ (Department of Justice). The bank was charged for “unlawful trading” in precious metals futures contracts and U.S. Treasury futures contracts and bonds. This fine of $920 million is the biggest ever for market manipulation.

  1. Wells Fargo ($3 billion)

This U.S. bank agreed to pay about $3 billion in fines to the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for long-running fake accounts fraud. Wells Fargo pressured its employees to sell its products and services. To meet the targets, the employees used forged and fraudulent customer signatures to create millions of fake accounts. A few Wells Fargo executives also faced fines amounting to about $60 million.

  1. Goldman Sachs ($5.4 billion)

Goldman Sachs faced massive fines last year for its role in the Malaysian 1MDB scandal. In July, the U.S. bank agreed to pay $2.5 billion in settlement to the Malaysian government. Then in October, the bank agreed to pay $2.9 billion to the U.S. Justice Department and other global regulators. Moreover, the bank also promised to pay about $1.4 billion to the Malaysian government from the assets seized by them. Goldman Sachs also faced a fine of $350 million from Hong Kong's markets regulators for the 1MDB scandal.​

Disclaimer: This article is not an investment recommendation, Please see our disclaimer - Get our 10 ...

How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience.


Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.