Tag Archives: redlining

Evans Bank settles with New York over redlining

The State of New York announced Thursday that it reached a settlement with Evans Bank (EVBN) over allegations of unlawful discriminatory mortgage practices, also called redlining.

New York sued Evans Bank last year, accusing the bank of “systematically” denying its mortgages and services to African-Americans in the Buffalo metro area.

According to the lawsuit, Evans Bank allegedly created a map of its lending area, which included most of the city of Buffalo, but excluded the predominately African-American neighborhoods on Buffalo’s East Side.

Read on.

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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Bank of America is accused of racial discrimination in Cleveland in black, Latino neighborhoods

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Bank of America discriminates against minorities in Cleveland by neglecting foreclosed homes it owns in black and Latino neighborhoods while taking good care of foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods, the National Fair Housing Alliance said Tuesday.

The NFHA said it’s expanding its 2-year-old complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to include Cleveland, Kansas City, New Orleans and Vallejo, Calif.

In a news conference Tuesday, NFHA said the nation’s second-largest bank practices housing discrimination by allowing foreclosed homes in black and Latino neighborhoods to decline while attending to homes in white neighborhoods, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.

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Schneiderman: Discrimination Is Illegal, And All New Yorkers Must Be Offered Equal Access To Mortgage Opportunities

Evan bank redlining

This graphic, created by the attorney general’s office and included in the lawsuit, shows Evans Bank branches and ATMs clustered on the border of neighborhoods that are more than 50 percent black.

 

A copy of NY AG’s complaint can be read here.

New York AG accuses Evans Bank of redlining

Drawn in thick marker along the map of upstate New York, the line snaked down the Niagara River and zigzagged east to outline a swath of Buffalo and its surrounding neighborhoods.

But one area of the city — neighborhoods in east Buffalo, where more than 75 percent of the city’s African-American population lives — was explicitly excluded, cut off from access to mortgage credit.

That map, ringed by a line, is at the center of a sweeping investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, into whether banks are “redlining” — deliberately choking off mortgage lending to predominantly minority communities.

The investigation reached its first target on Tuesday, with Mr. Schneiderman’s office taking aim at Evans Bank, a regional lender whose business in the Buffalo area dates to 1920, accusing it of denying mortgages to African-Americans regardless of their credit.

The case, accusing Evans Bank of violating the Fair Housing Act — a federal law intended to ensure equal access to credit — is a harbinger of other lawsuits that could be brought against some of the nation’s largest banks, several people briefed on the investigations said.

In the suit, filed in state court, prosecutors outlined how, since 2009, Evans Bancorp has created a map that defined the “trade area,” places in the Buffalo metropolitan region where the bank would make mortgages and other loans. The bank, prosecutors contend, deliberately excised much of Buffalo’s East Side.

Rival banks, the authorities said, lent to neighborhoods on the East Side at a far higher rate than Evans Bank, suggesting that the lending patterns did not stem from a dearth of willing minority borrowers.

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JPMorgan earns legal victory over Los Angeles in discrimination suit

In May, the City of Los Angeles sued JPMorgan Chase (JPM), alleging that the bank had pushed minority borrowers into mortgages they could not afford “since at least 2004.”

The city’s suit suggested that the bank’s lending practicescreated a wave of foreclosures that impacted property values and brought urban blight to the city.

But the bank has secured a legal victory over Los Angeles, according to a report from Reuters.

In a decision made public on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright said the city could not hold JPMorgan responsible for questionable lending by the former Washington Mutual Inc, under a federal law governing the wind-down of failed banks.

Wright said Los Angeles may file an amended complaint focused on JPMorgan’s, but not WaMu’s, lending practices.

Fannie Mae contractor responds to charges from National Fair Housing Alliance

Cyprexx Services has responded to charges of racial discrimination levied by The National Fair Housing Alliance earlier this week.

Cyprexx, which provides property preservation services forFannie Mae-owned homes, was accused of failing to properly maintain properties in African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland; Kansas City, Missouri; Orlando, Florida; and Richmond, Virginia.

“Cyprexx is extremely disappointed that the National Fair Housing Alliance and two of its member organizations announced the filing of a federal housing discrimination complaint against the company without first engaging the company in supplying data, and discussing their concerns and allegations,” Cyprexx said in a statement released to HousingWire.

“These allegations appear frivolous, and without reasonable merit.”

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