, Huffington Post

Preliminary reports say that a $16 to $17 billion settlement will soon be announced between the Justice Department and Bank of America. That would break the record for the largest bank settlement in history, set less than a year ago by a $13 billion agreement between Justice and JPMorgan Chase.

The numbers that accompany these deal announcements always seem impressive. But how large are they, really? That depends on your point of view.

The Big Picture

Bankers fraudulently inflated a housing bubble. They became extremely wealthy as a result, but the U.S. housing market lost $6.3 trillion in value when the bubble burst. It had only recovered 44 percent of that lost value by of the end of 2013, according to Zillow’s data.

That’s more than $3 trillion still missing from American households.

As of the first quarter of this year, 9.1 million residences – 17 percent of mortgaged homes – were still “seriously underwater,” which means that homeowners owed at least 25 percent more on the home than it was worth.

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