Will a Big Fine for Bank of America Hurt JPMorgan Chase?

It's a bit of a sleepy day for markets, with the Veteran's Day holiday keeping the bonds market closed, and no big economic announcements on tap. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) and the S&P 500 are both staying green so far this morning, as markets await the confirmation hearings for the next Federal Reserve Chair to begin on Thursday.

Bank of America woes not affecting big banks
In the banking world, both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) are in positive territory, still up following Friday's jobs report. Though rising interest rates certainly won't help the mortgage business, investors may be looking at the big banks' investments -- returns on which should get a boost from higher rates.

Even former Dow member Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is on a roll, despite another piece of lousy news in its never-ending legal saga. Prosecutors in the recent "Hustle" lawsuit -- in which Bank of America was found liable for creating and selling toxic loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in the day -- have asked a federal court to impose the maximum penalty in that case.

The $863 million requested in a filing over the weekend exceeds the losses presented by the government during the trial, according to Bloomberg. The penalty amount will be decided when the court begins hearing arguments on this issue on Dec. 5.

Doubtless, big banks like JPMorgan Chase will be keeping an eye on these developments. The biggest U.S. bank has been embroiled in its own legal drama with federal regulators lately, as it puts paid to charges of its own involvement in the pre-financial-crisis sale of toxic mortgage bonds. A legal weapon used by the government to help secure the Bank of America verdict, the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, has also cropped up in JPMorgan's own recent legal negotiations with regulators. The movement toward higher success rates of government cases against big banks, coupled with escalating penalties and fines, will surely begin to rub bank investors raw as time goes on.

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