DALLAS — In an August 7 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Santander Consumer USA revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a subpoena to the finance source, requesting documents related to subprime auto loans.

Citing the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), the DOJ requested Santander provide documents and communications “that, among other things, relate to the underwriting and securitization of nonprime auto loans since 2007,” according to the filing.

“We are cooperating with this request,” the filing stated.

Like GM Financial, which reported in a SEC filing Monday that it received such a subpoena on July 28, Santander did not refer to the DOJ’s actions as anything other than a standard legal proceeding “arising in the normal course of business.”

In the past, the DOJ has used the FIRREA to go after finance sources in the mortgage area. Last month, Citigroup was ordered by the DOJ to pay the largest civil penalty under FIRREA in history — $4 billion — for its conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities prior to Jan. 1, 2009. 

“We have recorded no material reserves for any cases and do not believe that there are any proceedings threatened or pending that would have a material adverse effect on us if determined adversely,” Santander concluded in its filing.

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