WASHINGTON — The Justice Department's recent $16.6 billion deal with Bank of America over crisis-era mortgage fraud has raised fresh questions over a perceived lack of transparency in the settlement process.

The deal is the latest in a long line of settlements and deferred-prosecution agreements with the country's largest banks over the past few years, including similar mortgage agreements penned with JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. While the headline figures in these cases are almost inconceivably large — JPMorgan settled for $13 billion and Citigroup for $7 billion — consumer groups and some lawmakers continue to raise questions about how these penalties are decided and ultimately implemented.

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