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Wells Fargo Says Mortgage Probe May Trigger Enforcement

Wells Fargo Says Mortgage Probe May Trigger Enforcement
A demonstrator holds a sign outside the Wells Fargo annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Wells Fargo & Co.’s lending and foreclosure practices probably will draw an enforcement action that may include a fine, the bank said today in a regulatory filing.

“It is likely that one or more of the government agencies will initiate some type of enforcement action against Wells Fargo, which may include civil money penalties,” the San Francisco-based lender said in its annual report. “Wells Fargo continues to provide information requested by the various agencies.”

Wells Fargo said the high end of estimated litigation losses could be $1.2 billion beyond the reserve already set aside, according to the filing. The bank, which ranks as the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, said it didn’t expect litigation costs to have a “material adverse” impact on its financial position.

Wells Fargo completed its own review of foreclosures in the fourth quarter and doesn’t believe any unwarranted seizures occurred, according to the filing.

U.S. regulators may try to extract $20 billion of penalties in a settlement with banks that serviced flawed loans, two people briefed on the talks said this week. Terms of an accord, from regulators led by the Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development, haven’t been formally presented to banks, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions aren’t public.

Wells Fargo rose 96 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $32.40 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 4.6 percent this year.

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