USA reaches $7.2 billion settlement with Deutsche Bank over toxic securities

In 2013, the bank had agreed to pay $1.9 billion to settle all allegations that it defrauded U.S. government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - America's biggest providers of housing finance - into buying $14.2 billion in mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis.

Just hours after Deutsche Bank reached a landmark settlement with USA regulators today, the group took efforts to alleviate concerns of its employees, whereby touting its economic strength despite a litany of legal concerns, according to a Bloomberg report. Credit Suisse has agreed to pay $5.3bn.

American investment banks including Goldman Sachs have paid billions to settle similar probes; UBS and Barclays now remain the last major European banks with probes into residential mortgage-backed securities still pending.

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Authorities had already extracted more than US$46 billion from six USA financial institutions over their dealings in mortgage-backed securities.

The Deutsche deal caps a turbulent few months for the German bank, which saw its share price drop to a record low in September after it emerged the department of justice had made a $14 billion claim. The news has fuelled hopes that RBS' potential fine in the USA would be smaller than feared.

The multibillion-dollar bank settlements at least sound like pretty stiff penalties."They're very substantial", says Harvard Law School professor Hal Scott. Because the Justice Department hasn't commented, we don't know what non-financial terms are contained in the agreement or what behavior, if any, the banks will admit to.

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Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have been hit with a combined penalty of more than $12 billion over the sale of US toxic debt, further hampering two of Europe's leading investment banks as they struggle with weak earnings.

Credit Suisse chief executive officer Tidjane Thiam tapped shareholders for six billion Swiss francs (S$8.5 billion) late a year ago while shifting the company's focus away from capital-heavy investment banking toward wealth management.

American banks have paid tens of billions of dollars over the past three years to settle with United States authorities over misleading investors about the quality of mortgages underlying securities.

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Germany's biggest lender expects pretax charges of about US$1.2 billion this quarter because of the fine.

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