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BofA, Countrywide Settle|With DOJ for $335 Million

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Bank of America and Countrywide Financial will pay $335 million to resolve the Justice Department's complaint that Countrywide discriminated against minority homebuyers during the housing boom.

The Justice Department claims Countrywide charge higher interest rates and fees to black and Latino homebuyers than it charged similarly situated white people.

The record fair-housing settlement will be split among more than 200,000 homebuyers, nearly a third of them in California.

Bank of America bought Countrywide in January 2008 after the housing market collapsed.

Bank America said the settlement did not reflect any wrongdoing by BofA: it covers home loans Countrywide made between 2004 and the end of 2007. But it closed a disastrous year for Bank of America. Its stock price sank by 60 percent this year, and the bank had to withdraw a $5 monthly fee for using its debit card, after consumers howled and other banks refused to institute parallel fees.

Countrywide and its tarnished white night still face complaint from several states' attorneys general.

Countrywide reported total net earnings of $6.7 billion from 2004 through 2007, the Justice Department said in its 47-page complaint.

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