Home / Uncategorized / $350m for cover(ing up) payments: deal or no deal?

$350m for cover(ing up) payments: deal or no deal?

Back in September, I said that someone would get a $500 million fine from the US authorities for a cover-up using cover payments.

Well, someone has.

That 'someone' is Lloyds TSB who settled with the US authorities for $350 million on Friday. 

This seems like a lot at today's exchange rates of $1.50 to the £1, but Lloyds TSB reserved £180 million a year ago when you could get $2 to the £1. 

Strangely enough, that was near enough $350 million that happened to be sitting in the coffers therefore.

Good deal!

The fact they had this in reserve and paid $150 million less than the
fine anticipated, means that Lloyds TSB actually got off pretty lightly
compared to what could have happened.  After all, $500 million today would be nearly twice the amount they reserved, using today's exchange rates.

Nevertheless, they won't like the headlines or the dirty laundry aired in public:

"According to court documents, Lloyds removed information such as
customer names, bank names and addresses so that wire transfers would
pass undetected through filters at US banks.  This process – known as stripping – meant that more than $350m (£230m
at current exchange rates) that might otherwise have been blocked was
processed by US institutions.
"

Oh dear.

And they did this for 12 years, between 1995 and 2007.

Tut-tut.

Ah well, the good news is that this fine is more than Lloyds TSB had to pay for HBOS, considering the £8 billion write-off of bad debts at HBOS along with the government's 43% stakeholding after last week's lack of interest in their equity.

The bad news is that someone else will get hit with bigger fines as Barclays and others are in the Justice Department's sights too.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here…

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  • Colin Wood

    Amazing Chris, I was just writing an article for our company newsletter on exactly the same subject.
    It seems very much that “The Black Horse” has got off comparatively lightly…

  • Colin Wood

    Amazing Chris, I was just writing an article for our company newsletter on exactly the same subject.
    It seems very much that “The Black Horse” has got off comparatively lightly…