Bank of America has agreed to give back $108 million to around 200,000 Countrywide mortgage customers and to stop home foreclosures in Utah in two separate cases.

The $108 million was the amount declared by the Federal Trade Commission to be paid back by BofA to about 200,000 Countrywide borrowers who paid several thousand dollars in fees when they missed their monthly payments. The fees were collected by Countrywide for the payment of various services such as property inspections over the years from 2005 to 2008.

BofA acquired Countrywide in 2008 after it collapsed due to allegations of fraudulent lending practices and mismanagement.

Advocates said that Countrywide did not help distressed borrowers rescue their homes because they were looking at the profits they will get from the default fees. They did not provide accurate loan information to borrowers, did not provide proper notices, did not keep clear records and they made false representations against borrowers in bankruptcy.

FTC officials pointed out that Countrywide made huge amounts of money when they made risky loans and they made money again when the home loans defaulted.

For its part, BofA said it agreed to refund the money to avoid further costs related to a drawn-out litigation. Aside from the financial settlement, BofA also agreed to notify bankrupt borrowers regularly about their balances and fees.

In related news, BofA also decided to stop home foreclosures in Utah in response to a court-ordered injunction resulting from the lawsuit filed by Utah resident Peni Cox. Since January last year, Cox has stopped making her monthly home loan payments. She and her lawyer was able to stop the repossession of her house after filing a case that claimed BofA had no right to file foreclosure cases in Utah because it is not registered in Utah and it does not have an office in Utah where it can conduct face-to-face meetings with customers.

In its response, BofA argued it does not have to register with every state in the U.S. Nevertheless, it agreed to stop home foreclosures in the state to comply with the Utah court order.

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