MetLife Says Bank May Face Fine in Foreclosure Probe

MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, said it may face fines amid a government review of foreclosures at its bank unit.

The bank received a request in May from the U.S. Department of Justice for information on payments the lender made to law firms tied to foreclosures, the New York-based insurer said in a filing today. Expenses were submitted to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for reimbursement, according to the filing.

“It is possible that various state or federal regulatory and law enforcement authorities may seek monetary penalties from MetLife Bank relating to foreclosure practices,” the insurer said in the filing.

The probe adds to U.S. scrutiny of a business that MetLife has been exiting as it seeks to focus on insurance and retirement products. The company said last year that the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, made a civil investigative demand in a review of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

John Calagna, a spokesman for MetLife, declined to comment.