A federal judge in Los Angeles has preliminarily approved a $55 million settlement between Countrywide Financial Corp. and its former employees, who were seeking compensation for losses to their retirement plans.

The suit, filed in September 2007, alleged that the officers and directors of Countrywide, which was one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 by failing in their fiduciary duty to monitor employee retirement funds that were held in company stock. Alvidres v. Countrywide Financial Corp., No. 2:07-cv-05810 (C.D. Calif.).