The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 8, 2012

Wells Fargo could face fines over mortgage practices

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — Federal authorities have advised Wells Fargo & Co. that they may seek damages and fines for alleged discrimination in mortgage lending.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday, the San Francisco bank disclosed the latest development in an ongoing investigation.

“The Department of Justice has advised Wells Fargo that it believes it can bring claims against Wells Fargo for monetary damages and civil penalties under fair lending laws,” the bank said in its 10-Q quarterly filing.

“We believe such claims should not be brought and continue seeking to demonstrate to the Department of Justice our compliance with fair lending laws.”

Wells Fargo has long been among the largest mortgage lenders and emerged in the first quarter as the overwhelming leader, with 34 percent market share compared to under 11 percent for runner-up JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The government also are investigating whether Wells Fargo misled investors about its mortgage bonds.