February 28, 2011 / 10:36 PM / 9 years ago

JPMorgan says foreclosure probe could cause fines

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) could face “material” fines and “significant” legal costs from a wide-ranging probe into the industry’s foreclosure practices, the bank disclosed on Monday in its annual report filed with securities regulators.

The New York-based bank also said it was a defendant in more than 10,000 legal proceedings at year-end 2010, and estimated legal losses could cost the bank up to $4.5 billion.

JPMorgan, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, said it was cooperating with the various foreclosure investigations by state and federal authorities that began last fall after lenders — including JPMorgan — temporarily halted home repossessions after finding paperwork errors.

JPMorgan’s disclosure mirrors those made recently by other large mortgage lenders in their annual reports. Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) all disclosed similar concerns about the investigations by bank regulators, the U.S. Department of Justice and a 50-state coalition of attorneys general.

JPMorgan’s comments on the likelihood of fines and other industry penalties was echoed by Minneapolis-based US Bancorp (USB.N), in its annual reported also filed with regulators on Monday.

US Bancorp said it expects regulators will recommend the company change certain aspects of its foreclosure process, and the changes will not materially impact results or its financial position.

Reporting by Joe Rauch; Editing by Gary Hill, Bernard Orr

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