Bank accused of racial discrimination in mortgage lending

by Ryan Smith26 Apr 2016
A big bank will pay $1 million to resolve a probe into allegations that it discriminated against minority mortgage applicants.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that Fidelity Bank reached the agreement with the Fair Housing Project of North Carolina.

The agreement stems from a complaint lodged by the Fair Housing Project, Legal Aid North Carolina Inc. – a HUD agency based in Raleigh – alleging that Fidelity Bank denied housing and mortgage loans because of race. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race when setting the terms and conditions of a home sale or making houses or mortgages unavailable on the basis of race.

“Whether intentional or not, stark disparities exist in lending patterns and access to credit along racial and ethnic lines,” said HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Gustavo Velasquez. “HUD remains committed to not only enforcing the law, but also facilitating productive relationships between lenders and advocacy groups that help make lenders more aware of their obligations under the Fair Housing Act.”

The agreement calls for Fidelity to make investments and community development loans in predominantly minority census tracts, with at least 40% of those loans promoting affordable housing, according to HUD. The bank has committed to earmarking at least $1 million over the next two years to the project.         

The bank will also display a HUD Fair Housing poster at a branch in Raleigh, display its nondiscrimination policies in English and Spanish, and provide fair lending training to its mortgage staff, HUD reported.


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