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New York AG Investigates Disqualification of Customers by Banks

New York AG Investigates Disqualification of Customers by Banks

New York’s top prosecutor is investigating some of the nation’s largest banks in connection with their use of credit-reporting databases that disqualify people seeking to open checking or savings accounts — an inquiry that has gained urgency as the ranks of the unbanked has swelled in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

The New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, sent a batch of letters seeking information to six banks on Thursday, including Bank of AmericaCitibankand JPMorgan Chase, people briefed on the matter said.

The inquiry on Thursday is playing out as a growing number of banks and credit unions tap into the vast repositories of information — a record of banking transgressions including bounced checks, overdrawn accounts and fees — to guard against risky customers and protect against fraud.

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