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Exclusive: Bank of America in talks with U.S. on probe of Merrill - sources

People use an ATM at a Bank of America's branch in New York October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
People use an ATM at a Bank of America's branch in New York October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp has held talks with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve a civil fraud probe into Merrill Lynch's sale of flawed mortgage securities ahead of the financial crisis, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.

On Wednesday, the No. 2 U.S. bank reported it took a $6 billion charge to cover litigation expenses, a figure that far exceeded the legal settlements the bank has announced recently.

The sources did not say whether Bank of America and the government have discussed a specific settlement amount to resolve the Merrill probe.

The investigation stems from a government task force the Obama administration created in early 2012 to probe the sale of shoddy home loans repackaged for investors.

(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by David Gregorio)

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