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BofA’s Countrywide to pay $335 million over bias case

By Reuters
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 15:39 EDT
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Bank of america. Image via AFP.
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp’s Countrywide Financial unit agreed on Wednesday to pay a record $335 million to settle civil charges that it discriminated against minority homebuyers, a historic settlement for the Obama administration in the wake of the subprime mortgage morass.

As the financial crisis was building in 2008, Bank of America bought Countrywide, which specialized in so-called subprime mortgages, focusing on loans to those with lower credit ratings and charging them higher interest rates.

The settlement covers conduct between 2004 and 2008 before the acquisition by Bank of America, and involves a range of alleged wrongdoing including charging African-Americans and Hispanics higher interest rates and fees and steering some to more expensive subprime mortgages.

(Reporting By Jeremy Pelofsky and James Vicini; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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