Both Bank of America and Fannie Mae had to fork out to meet a conciliation agreement with HUD.
The agreement settles allegations that the lender and Fannie Mae violated the Fair Housing Act by denying a disabled borrower’s loan modification application.
“People with disabilities should not have to answer unnecessary questions about the nature of their disability when seeking a loan modification,” said Bryan Greene, HUD General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take action against lenders that subject persons with disabilities to discriminatory practices.”
According to the complaint, a San Bruno, Calif. woman applied for a loan modification at Bank of America to make it easier for her to pay her mortgage after her disability caused her to miss several months of work, citing physical “hardship.”
Upon request of documentation of her medical condition, the woman provided the loan officer with a letter from her physician, a current medical bill, and a letter from her employer certifying her approved leave of absence due to her disability. But the bank denied her application, reportedly telling her that she had not provided sufficient information about the nature of her disability. Fannie Mae reportedly stated that her doctor’s letters and other documentation were insufficient to show that she was permanently disabled.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bank of America will pay the woman $22,449, which includes $19,349 to cover the approximate closing costs on a refinance loan, and agreed to follow HAMP and Fannie Mae’s servicing guidelines. Bank of America will also provide fair lending training to its newly-hired employees. In addition, Fannie Mae will pay the woman $3,400.