Just last week prosecutors told BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, to cough up $8.9 Billion Dollars as punishment for sanctions violations and falsifying their records. (That was more than da bank made last year, so I'm sure they felt it.)
Here's the financial fine score card since 2012:
Bank of America.......$35.6B
JP Morgan Chase.....$23.4B
The Frenchies were forced to plead guilty to criminal charges, but it was apparently little more than a photo-op slap followed by a wink. Nobody is going to jail.
This all looks good on paper, but here's my gripe: The individuals involved got away with it. Those billions of dollars in fines are being paid by the banks shareholders. While the shareholders in a round-about way benefited from the bank's fraud, they didn't cause any of it.
We know from emails and other evidence that those bankers who sold those fraudulent derivatives, swaps, etc, knew exactly what they were doing, but were overcome by the "show me the money" syndrome. In most cases this knowledge went all the way to the very top of the bank's hierarchy. They knew, too, but did nothing....except cash their ill-gotten mega-million dollar paychecks every year.
Today they're still sitting on their pile of personal wealth. They weren't forced to give it back, much less spend even a day in jail, when their banks were fined all those billions of dollars.
This really irks me because I personally know lots of small local businesses who closed their doors when the economy collapsed and credit dried up. They lost everything....their homes, their life savings, their credit rating, all their assets....pfffft....gone. (I was lucky. I never stuck my neck out too far, so I was able pull back pretty easily when it all hit the fan.)
I want to see the bankers punished. I want to see them driving Chevys and living in little rented houses on the edge of town. I want to see them working 8 to 5 in a cubicle. I want to see them pushing a shopping cart through Walmart buying groceries.
I want to see them eating meat loaf and Hamburger Helper. I want to see their VIP parking spot at the local country club now say "Reserved For the Caddy of the Month". I want to see their credit ruined, so they can't even buy a TV on their signature.
I want to see them suffer the same fate as the millions of others they screwed over. Show me that, then I'm willing to call things even.
I think it's gonna be a long wait.