On March 28, 2024, four former Walden University students (“Plaintiffs”) filed a proposed settlement both individually and on behalf of a putative class of current and former Walden University (“Walden”) students with the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland to resolve allegations first raised against Walden in a complaint more than two years ago.… Continue Reading

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Patriot Bank (Patriot or Bank) has agreed to pay $1.9 million to resolve allegations that the Bank engaged in a pattern or practice of redlining majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Memphis, Tennessee from 2015 to at least 2020, in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).… Continue Reading

Recently the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a proposed consent order with Ameris Bank to resolve allegations of redlining from 2016 through 2021 in majority Black and Hispanic areas in the Bank’s Jacksonville, Florida assessment area under both the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Fair Housing Act. In conjunction with the announcement of the proposed consent order, Attorney General Merrick Garland provided an update on the DOJ’s Combating Redlining Initiative that was launched in October 2021.… Continue Reading

On October 19, 2023, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that its Combating Redlining Initiative has resulted in over $107 million in relief for communities adversely affected by lending discrimination by mortgage lenders. This comes on the same day DOJ announced its $9 million settlement with Ameris Bank, it’s most recent redlining case.… Continue Reading

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement agreement with Washington Trust Company, of Westerly (WTC) to resolve claims that WTC redlined majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Rhode Island.

In its complaint against WTC, DOJ alleged that the following practices were used to discriminate against Black and Hispanic borrowers from 2016 to at least 2021:

  • WTC located and maintained all of its Rhode Island branches and loan officers outside of majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods (WTC designated all five counties in Rhode Island as its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) assessment area);
  • WTC never had a branch in a majority-Black and Hispanic census tract despite the significant presence of majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods and census tracts throughout Rhode Island;
  • WTC did not assign a single mortgage loan officer to conduct outreach, market, advertise, or generate loans from majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods;
  • WTC failed to conduct outreach, marketing, and advertising of mortgage services in majority-Black and Hispanic areas;
  • WTC received only 2.4% of its mortgage loan applications from residents of, or for properties located in, majority-Black and Hispanic areas in its CRA assessment area, compared to 9.5% for its peer lenders, and on average 46.5% of the applications generated by WTC in those areas were from White applicants, compared to 25% for its peers.
Continue Reading

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has entered into a settlement with American Bank of Oklahoma (ABOK) to resolve allegations that ABOK engaged in unlawful redlining in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The DOJ opened its investigation of ABOK after receiving a referral from the FDIC.

In its complaint, the DOJ alleged that from 2017 through at least 2021:

  • All of ABOK’s branches and loan production offices were located in majority-white neighborhoods;
  • For purposes of the CRA, ABOK designated its Tulsa Metropolitan Services Area (MSA) to exclude all of the majority-Black and Hispanic-census tracts in the MSA;
  • ABOK did not assign a single loan officer to conduct outreach in majority-Black and Hispanic areas and did not market, advertise, or take steps to generate loans from majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods;
  • ABOK failed to implement effective fair lending compliance management systems;
  • ABOK significantly underperformed its “peer lenders” in generating home loan applications from majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods;
  • ABOK made a smaller percentage of HMDA-reportable residential mortgage loans in majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods compared to its peers; and
  • ABOK loan officers and executives sent and received emails via their ABOK email accounts containing racial slurs and racist content.
Continue Reading

The CFPB has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a private lawsuit brought by a group of eight Black and Hispanic plaintiffs who alleged that the named defendants, which included a bank and its affiliated mortgage company, violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and other laws by targeting Black and Hispanic borrowers and neighborhoods with predatory mortgage loans.… Continue Reading

The Justice Department (DOJ) recently announced a settlement with ESSA Bank & Trust (ESSA), which has agreed to pay over $3 million to resolve allegations that it engaged in a pattern or practice of redlining in violation of both the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) from 2017 through at least 2021. … Continue Reading

Park National Bank (“Park National”), based in Ohio, has agreed to pay $9 million to settle allegations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that it engaged in unlawful redlining practices in the Columbus metropolitan area by not providing mortgage lending services to majority-Black and Hispanic communities from 2015 to 2021.  … Continue Reading

The Federal Reserve System, through its Consumer Compliance Outlook platform, recently hosted its annual Fair Lending Interagency Webinar.  During the session, a variety of fair lending topics were discussed, including redlining, appraisal bias, and Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs), as well as supervision and enforcement-related updates. Presenters included representatives from the following federal agencies: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Department of Justice (DOJ); Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA); Federal Reserve Board (FRB); National Credit Union Administration (NCUA); and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).… Continue Reading