WASHINGTON — The $175 million fair-lending settlement that federal authorities announced Thursday with Wells Fargo (WFC) offered both sides the chance to claim some measure of victory and move past a three-year-long investigation.

With the settlement, Wells Fargo was able to deny — contrary to the allegations of the Justice Department — that it unlawfully discriminated against minority borrowers related to mortgages originated during the housing boom. But at the same time, the Justice Department, which has been pursuing fair-lending cases more energetically during the Obama Administration, was able to claim its second-largest prize following a $335 million settlement with Countrywide last year.

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