On May 8, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it had reached a voluntary settlement with a family-owned Minnesota bank, resolving allegations that the bank had violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. (“FHA”) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1691 et seq. (“ECOA”) by “redlining” minority neighborhoods around Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Enforcement Watch previously covered this suit here.
The settlement agreement states that the bank has committed to meeting the credit needs of residents of Hennepin County, Minnesota, and will take steps to remedy the harm alleged in the complaint. For example, the bank has agreed to open a full-service brick and mortar office within a majority-minority census tract; to develop a written proposal for community partnerships to the government within six months after the effective date of the settlement; to spend a minimum of $300,000 on advertising, outreach, and consumer financial education over the next three years in majority-minority census tracts; and to invest a minimum of $300,000 over three years in a special purpose credit program that will offer residents of majority-minority census tracts home mortgage loans and home improvement loans on a more affordable basis than otherwise available from the bank, in order to remedy the harm alleged in the complaint. The bank has also agreed to conduct fair lending training for its employees and officers.
The settlement requires the bank to undergo monitoring by the DOJ for three years.