Miami mortgage lawsuits vs BofA, Citigroup, Wells Fargo are revived

(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived three lawsuits in which the City of Miami accused Wells Fargo & Co, Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc of predatory mortgage lending to black and Hispanic borrowers.

By a 3-0 vote, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court erred in dismissing the city’s claims under the federal Fair Housing Act, over what Miami called a decade of lending discrimination in its residential housing market.

“It is clear that the harm the city claims to have suffered has a sufficiently close connection to the conduct the statute prohibits,” Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus wrote.

U.S. cities including Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Memphis have with mixed success accused banks of biased mortgage lending that prolonged the nation’s housing crisis.

Miami alleged that Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citigroup steered non-white borrowers into higher-cost loans they often could not afford, even if they had good credit.

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