On April 25, 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it entered into a settlement agreement with a regional bank over allegations the bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act. According to HUD, the bank discriminated against racial minorities by refusing to originate mortgage loans to them or offering loans on such unfavorable terms that the bank effectively denied their loan applications. HUD initiated the investigation after the North Carolina’s Fair Housing Project, an agency affiliated with HUD’s Fair Housing Initiative, filed a complaint with HUD’s enforcement division alleging the bank made housing and home mortgage loans unavailable to loan applicants based on race. Under the agreement, the bank must spend $1,000,000 over the course of the next two years in investments and community development loans in minority census tracts. At least 40% of the funds will go to agencies or programs that promote affordable housing in these communities. The bank must also submit reports to HUD detailing the use of the funds, post HUD-approved Fair Housing posters and copies of its non-discrimination policies at one of its branches, and provide fair lending training to certain employees. The Bank did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement agreement.
Blog Enforcement Watch April 29, 2016