Bank of America Settles Countrywide Complaints for $335 Million
The Justice Department announced on Wednesday afternoon that the country's largest and lately flagging lender Bank of America will fork over $335 million to settle allegations that Countrywide discriminated against black and Hispanics applicants. The settlement is being hailed for the historical proportions of the amount -- The New York Times qualifies it as "the largest fair-lending settlement in history" -- but it's unclear if Americans will be happy with yet another bank writing a big check to pay for its mistakes. While the specific case the Justice Department was pursuing is related to Countrywide's alleged violation of anti-discrimination laws, including Fair Housing and Equal Credit Opportunity acts, the evidence of "statistically significant disparities by race and ethnicity" surfaced during a 2010 civil fraud investigation mounted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, The Times's Charlie Savage explains. Bank of America, who bought Countrywide and all of its sins in 2009, has already agreed to pay the federal government a $108 million settlement for duping its customers and $600 million for various shareholder lawsuits.