According to The Wall Street Journal, media headlines capture the ongoing pummeling of banks from the litigation front. But not everyone believes the banks went crazy all at once. Skeptics say regulators stepped up their attacks in court, causing a slew of new lawsuits.

CEO Robert Wilmers of the northeast regional M&T Bank (MTB)told his shareholders in March about an M&T study that showed that fines, sanctions and legal awards against the six largest U.S. based banks soared to $29.3 billion last year. This is more than double the $13.9 billion of 2011 and dwarfs the $9 billion of the 10 years preceding 2011.