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PNC Gets Justice Department Subpoena on Payment Processing

MAR 4, 2014 10:47am ET
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PNC Financial Services Group Inc. received a subpoena regarding the return rate for its payment-processor clients from the Department of Justice.

The department's consumer protection unit is seeking information "for certain merchant and payment processor customers with whom PNC has a depository relationship," the Pittsburgh-based bank said Monday in a regulatory filing. "We believe that the subpoena is intended to determine whether, and to what extent, PNC may have facilitated fraud committed by third-parties against consumers."

PNC, the second-biggest U.S. regional bank, also disclosed more details about three subpoenas it received from the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan related to National City Bank, the Cleveland-based subprime home lender PNC purchased in 2008. Two of the investigations were in connection with loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration as well as some non-FHA-insured practices. The third probe is tied to costs for foreclosure counsel related to loans insured by the FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, according to the filing. PNC disclosed that U.S. officials were investigating the unit last year.

PNC said in the filing that itís cooperating with the investigations. Fred Solomon, a spokesman for PNC, declined to comment, as did Jerika Richardson, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the Justice Departmentís Emily Pierce.

In December, PNC agreed to pay $35 million to settle claims it charged minorities more for home loans than similarly qualified white borrowers. The case was the first fair-lending action to be brought jointly by the Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It concerned violations of fair-lending laws on loans to about 76,000 black and Hispanic borrowers from 2002 to 2008 by National City, according to a complaint.

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