JPMorgan Claims No. 1 for Government Debt After Jefferson County - Bloomberg
"JPMorgan, which emerged from the worst financial crisis since the 1930s as the most profitable U.S. bank, has parlayed crisis-era loans to cities and states and a willingness to outbid other firms in local government bond auctions into becoming the top underwriter of municipal debt last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was the first time the firm held that rank.
The turnaround was a milestone for JPMorgan’s municipal- bond department, which has been marred by its involvement in two of the biggest scandals in the history of U.S. public finance: a so-called pay-to-play scheme in Jefferson County, Alabama, that contributed to the biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy, and a federal probe that uncovered bid rigging of municipal-bond investment products. It also underscores state and local officials’ willingness to overlook bankers’ past abuses when they set out to borrow money in debt markets."
As Matt Taibbi says, "A friend of mine sent this article from Bloomberg, along with the simple comment: "Perfect." What's perfect? That the banks that have been caught repeatedly ripping off communities and munipalities -- banks that have paid hefty settlements for rigging bids, bribery and other sordid misdeeds -- keep winning the most public business. Apparently, our public officials aren't concerned about whom they hire to serve as the people's investment bankers."