BILLS for pre-crisis buccaneering are still coming in. Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, confirmed on September 15th that America’s Department of Justice (DoJ) had asked for $14 billion to settle possible claims connected with the underwriting and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBSs) between 2005 and 2007. The next day Deutsche’s share price, already reeling after a wretched year, plunged by 8%. It was groggier still after the weekend, closing on September 20th at a 30-year low (see chart).

American banks have settled with the DoJ for amounts between $3.2 billion (Morgan Stanley) and $16.7 billion (Bank of America), as well as agreeing on smaller sums with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), another regulator. Deutsche, which settled with the FHFA for $1.9 billion in 2013, insists that it will not pay anything near to what the DoJ has asked for, and it surely won’t. Citigroup, which reached an RMBS deal with...Continue reading