Bank of America Charged With Housing Discrimination, Justice Department Might Join Fight

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development filed discrimination charges against Bank of America Corp. on Monday as the organization claimed BofA discriminated against three disabled borrowers in Michigan and Wisconsin.

According to federal agents the bank was in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act in both 2009 and 2010.

The charge claims that Bank of America imposed “unnecessary and burdensome requirements” on borrowers who received income because of a disability. In some cases the bank wanted statements from doctors in order to receive loans, another provision forbidden by the FHA.

Bank of America rather than apologizing issued a statement in which it said Federal Housing Administraiton guidelines in all three cases were caused because of “inconsistencies” in laws that regulate housing discrimination.

In the statement BofA claims:

“There is no basis to allege that Bank of America has engaged in a systemic practice of discriminating on the basis of disability in connection with mortgage lending.”

While HUD can levy sanctions up to $65,000 per violation the Justice Department which is also investigating the claims has the right to include civil penalties up to $100,000.

Bank of America in the meantime provides no proof that laws in Michigan and Wisconsin allow lenders to require doctor notes for disabled borrowers before loans are improved.

Personally I find that simply requiring a person to provide a doctors note to obtain a loan when they have an obvious disability and receive disability payments is discrimination.

Do you think Bank of American discriminated against borrowers by asking for information they don’t require from non-disabled customers?

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