A group of eleven Republican Senators who are members of the Senate Banking Committee have sent a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to urge the CFPB and DOJ to retract the joint statement the agencies issued last month regarding “the potential civil rights implications of a creditor’s consideration of an individual’s immigration status under 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.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Department of Justice have issued a joint statement regarding “the potential civil rights implications of a creditor’s consideration of an individual’s immigration status under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).”
The agencies begin the statement by observing that while ECOA and Regulation B do not expressly prohibit consideration of immigration status, they do prohibit creditors from using immigration status to discriminate on the basis of national origin, race, or any other protected characteristic. … 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.
On August 4, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released its highly anticipated proposed changes to the regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Title II prohibits state and local governments from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The regulations aim to increase accessibility of websites and mobile applications by clarifying how these public entities can meet their ADA obligations on a technical level. … Continue Reading
On June 13, 2023, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it had settled an action against a multi-family residential property management company for alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) prohibition on imposing early termination charges when a servicemember lawfully terminates a residential lease after receiving military orders. … 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
The consumer financial services industry has become the target of increasing regulatory scrutiny under antitrust laws as well as class action antitrust litigation that challenges industry practices on the grounds that they undermine competition. We first provide an overview of the federal antitrust laws, discuss the Biden Administration’s focus on competition, and the wide remedies available under antitrust laws. … Continue Reading