Legal woes mounted yesterday for Countrywide Financial, the troubled mortgage lender bought by Bank of America, as the Connecticut attorney-general accused the group of engaging in deceptive and predatory lending practices.

Richard Blumenthal accused the mortgage lender of pushing borrowers into unaffordable loans and of charging excessive legal fees to homeowners in default. The civil complaint alleged that Countrywide made 'untrue or misleading representations' to consumers regarding the 'material terms, suitability and affordability' of their loans. Countrywide, one of the biggest issuers of home loans to high-risk borrowers, teetered on the edge of bankruptcy last year before agreeing to a takeover offer from Bank of America, which it acquired for $2.5bn last month.

Bank of America said yesterday that it would respond to Mr Blumenthal 'in due course'.

Financial Times