Bank of America is completing an agreement to pay $8.5 billion to settle claims by investors that purchased mortgage securities that soured when the housing bubble burst, according to people briefed on the deal. It represents what is likely to be the single biggest settlement tied to the subprime mortgage boom and the subsequent financial crisis of 2008.

The settlement would wipe out all of the company's earnings in the first half of this year, while encouraging powerful private investors to extract payouts from other banks that bundled troubled home loans and sold them as sound investments.

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