PNC Financial Services received a subpoena regarding the return rate for its payment-processor clients from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The department's consumer protection bureau is "seeking information concerning the return rate for certain merchant and payment processor customers with whom PNC has a depository relationship," the Pittsburgh-based bank said today 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, said in the filing that it's cooperating with the investigation.

The lender agreed to pay $35 million in December 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 Bank, according to a complaint. PNC purchased Cleveland-based National City at the end of 2008.

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