Stephen Bartholomeusz writes in The Australian "On the eve of Christmas Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse reached a settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice for their roles in the subprime crisis that triggered the wider financial crisis in 2008. There were sighs of relief all around that their penalties were “only’’ $US12.5 billion.
"The deal with Deutsche and Credit Suisse, if finalised, would bring to about $US125 billion the amounts major banks have been fined for their mis-selling of subprime mortgages in the lead-up to the financial crisis.
"The subprime fines are, however, only part of the story of big bank bad behaviour.
"The global banks and investment banks have totted up fines running to several hundred billion dollars since the crisis — it must now be close to $US300 billion — for offences ranging from money-laundering, sanction-busting, enabling tax fraud and manipulations of the LIBOR, gold and foreign exchange markets.
Bartholomeusz concludes "Ultimately, if stronger cultures are to be established and the numbers of “bad apples" are to be minimised, incentive structures throughout the organisations — from CEO to tellers — need to be redesigned to shift the weight of the schemes away from simple financial metrics towards those that reward good and customer-friendly behaviours."
One thing sure to get the banks' attention: losing customers, revenues and profits.
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