“It is essential that all New Yorkers, regardless of the color of their skin or the racial make-up of their neighborhoods, be afforded equal access to our banking systems – and the basic benefits of obtaining a mortgage," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told a local Buffalo publication.
Evans Bank has agreed to pay $825,000 in a settlement to a number of borrowers in a Buffalo neighbourhood.
However, the bank maintains it was not in violation of any lending laws.
"Throughout the course of this matter, no specific incidents were ever claimed, described or identified and, as such, we believe the underlying lawsuit was based on unsubstantiated information and Evans would have eventually prevailed in court,” Evan Bank President and CEO David Nasca said in a release. “We firmly believe that Evans did not violate any state or federal laws regarding our residential mortgage practices.”
For his part, Schneiderman continues to take aim at companies that appear to have taken advantage of clients.
In June, he kicked off a public awareness campaign targeting “mortgage rescue” scams.
Many companies – including legitimate law firms – making false promises of offering mortgage debt relief are making off with client money.
“They take victims and they re-victimize them, and there is nothing lower than that,” Schneiderman, New York’s Attorney General, said at a press conference at the time.
New York’s Attorney General argues one bank participated in “redlining” mortgages, an illegal lending tactic that denies mortgages based on the racial makeup of communities.