America’s largest bank has a total of $2.87 trillion of its own assets. But, somehow, it has managed to attract more than 10 times its own assets on a custodian basis.
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade.
On November 24 the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) fined JPMorgan Chase $250 million for wrongdoing that was apparently too deplorable to be spoken out loud to the public. The specific details were cloaked in this phrase: “failure to maintain adequate internal controls and internal audit over its fiduciary business.”
We went to the OCC’s Consent Order connected to the fine to see if there were the typical smoking gun internal emails or at least some clue as to what the actual illegal activity was. There were zero clues, just more obfuscation. What we did see, however, was a dollar figure that popped our eyes wide open. The OCC Consent Order said this:
“The Bank maintains one of the world’s largest and most complex fiduciary businesses with total fiduciary and related assets of $29.1 trillion, including $1.3 trillion in fiduciary assets and $27.8 trillion of non-fiduciary custody assets.”
To put that $29.1 trillion into the proper perspective, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is reporting that as of November 30 of this year, there were a total of 5,031 federally-insured banks and savings associations in the United States. The amount of assets held by all 5,031 of these financial institutions was $21 trillion — $8 trillion less than JPMorgan Chase has in custody assets.
JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States. To put the $29.1 trillion into even sharper focus, JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., according to the FDIC, has a total of just $2.87 trillion of its own assets. But, somehow, it has managed to attract more than 10 times its own assets on a custodian basis.
If the idea of numbered Swiss bank accounts is floating around in your brain right now, you can be forgiven.
In September, when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released a bombshell investigative report about money laundering for criminals at some of the largest Wall Street banks, it had quite a bit to say about JPMorgan Chase. (The ICIJ investigation was based on secret documents leaked from FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a unit of the U.S. Treasury.)
According to the ICIJ report, JPMorgan Chase was involved in moving illicit funds for the fugitive, Jho Low, involving the notorious looting of public funds in Malaysia. Jho Low has been accused by multiple jurisdictions of playing a key role in the embezzlement of more than $4.5 billion from a Malaysian economic development fund, 1MDB. JPMorgan Chase moved $1.2 billion in money for Jho Low from 2013 to 2016, according to the report…