WASHINGTON — Several auto lenders under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for potential fair lending violations are being referred to the Department of Justice, according to sources familiar with the matter.

At least three lenders have recently been given notices by the CFPB about the referral, sources said. Although the firms have not been publicly identified, the agency has been probing large banks for more than a year, while it has asked several big non-banks to begin submitting data to the CFPB.

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