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PNC & the feds: Who's the victim?

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Details of the federal government's investigation into the mortgage-lending practices of PNC Financial Services Group are woefully few and far between. But if we were PNC, and based on the surface of what's been revealed about the probe, we'd be preparing for a vigorous defense against the kind of government cluster-clucking that has become standard operating procedure in the modern “victim” state.

PNC revealed in a federal regulatory filing last week that the Justice Department's civil rights division and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are investigating whether the Pittsburgh banking giant and National City Bank, which PNC acquired in 2008, priced home mortgages unfairly to “protected classes” of borrowers.

Other than what it divulged in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, PNC isn't talking, citing the “legal matter.” But the implication is that PNC and/or National City illegally charged minorities higher mortgage rates because they were minorities.

That, of course, would be reprehensible. But anytime the civil rights division of the Obama administration's “Justice” Department teams up with the new and suspect “financial protection” bureau, we see another attempt to turn “equal opportunity” into equal results — the now-quaint notion of financial wherewithal lost in the whoosh of the wind created by federal thugs wielding the social re-engineering cudgel.

If that's the case, PNC would do more than itself a favor by standing its ground. It would be an important step in ending such prosecutory and regulatory misconduct.

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