Deutsche Bank AG announced Friday it had no intention of settling the $14 billion civil claims with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding its handling of mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
The Germany-based bank released a statement that said: “Deutsche Bank has no intent to settle these potential civil claims anywhere near the number cited. The negotiations are only just beginning. The bank expects that they will lead to an outcome similar to those of peer banks which have settled at materially lower amounts.”
The bank confirmed it was in talks with the DOJ and had been invited to submit a counter proposal. It is one of the several banks under investigation over allegations of giving unsecured mortgages to unqualified borrowers which resulted in huge losses for investors and a series of foreclosures that triggered the financial crisis of 2008.
The DOJ has reportedly taken a tough stance on settlements with financial institutions, asking for fines higher than the initial figures. For instance, Citigroup was initially asked to pay a fine of $12 billion but eventually paid $7 billion. In April, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay a $5.06 billion fine which included a $2.39bn civil penalty, $1.8bn in other relief and an $875m payment to resolve claims by cooperative and home loan banks among others. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, HSBC and UBS have also paid out, reports said.
A former DOJ official involved in previous mortgage-securities settlement negotiations told the Wall Street Journal the final amount paid by Deutsche Bank could be half the opening bid of $14 billion.
“The point with coming in with a number like that is to set expectations, to express the seriousness of the conduct from the department’s perspective, and to signal that, in order for negotiations to continue, the financial institution is going to have to put a significant amount of money on the table as a counter,” the source said.