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Bank of America settles with FTC for $108 million

Bank of America has agreed to pay $108 million to settle federal charges that the bank's subsidiary Countrywide collected excessive fees from homeowners who fell behind on their mortgages. When homeowners default on loans banks can order them to pay for services like lawn mowing and home inspections to make sure the property remains in good shape. The Federal Trade Commission's complaint says Countrywide cheated borrowers out of hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars by inflating these costs. Instead of hiring a company to do the work, the FTC says Countrywide created a subsidiary and marked-up prices by 100 percent or more. The FTC alleges Countrywide used this practice as a strategy to increase profits in a tough economy. According to the agency, it's one of the largest judgments imposed in an FTC case. All of the FTC's complaints involve practices that took place before Bank of America acquired Countrywide two years ago.