May 08, 2012

The U.S. Department of Justice believes it has grounds to bring claims against Wells Fargo & Co for monetary damages and civil penalties under fair lending laws, the bank said in a securities filing on Tuesday.

The fourth-largest U.S. bank said it believes such claims should not be brought and it is seeking to show the department that it is in compliance with fair lending laws, the filing said. The investigation involves possible violations related to mortgage origination practices, the filing said.

A bank spokeswoman declined to comment.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo is the largest servicer and originator of home loans in the United States.

Government agencies also continue to investigate whether Wells Fargo properly disclosed risks related to mortgage-backed securities in offering documents for investors, according to the filing. In February, Wells said it had received notice that it may face an enforcement action from the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Reporting By Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, North Carolina; editing by John Wallace, Dave Zimmerman)

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