WASHINGTON — A probe into PNC Financial Services' mortgage lending is stoking fears that regulators are preparing to crack down on other large banks for alleged loan discrimination.

The Pittsburgh-based bank disclosed last week that it is under investigation by the Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its mortgage pricing, with regulators citing a so-called "disparate impact" on a certain class of borrowers. It marked the first time the CFPB has publicly pursued a bank using the controversial legal theory, which is used to cite a bank for discrimination — even if it is unintentional — if a policy, product or practice has an adverse impact on a protected class.

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