1. Business

Regions Bank to pay $52 million settlement for improperly handling mortgage loans

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Federal officials say Alabama-based Regions Bank has agreed to pay more than $52 million to resolve allegations that it improperly handled mortgage loans.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday that the bank was accused of handling mortgage loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration that failed to meet requirements designed to protect homeowners.

The Justice Department statement also said that as part of the settlement, Regions acknowledged it failed to follow several federal guidelines from Jan. 1, 2006, to Dec. 31, 2011.

Federal authorities say that as a result, the U.S. government insured hundreds of loans approved by Regions that were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance. Authorities say the Housing and Urban Development Department subsequently incurred substantial losses when it paid insurance claims on those loans.

Regions Bank has about 100 locations in Florida, including about 20 in the Tampa Bay area.