Janell Ross, Huffington Post
U.S. Bank on Tuesday joined the ranks of large financial firms facing discrimination charges for the way it maintains foreclosed homes in mostly black and Latino neighborhoods.
The National Fair Housing Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, filed a formal discrimination complaint against the bank with the Department of Housing and Urban Development Tuesday. In the complaint, the organization accuses the bank of maintaining and marketing bank-owned foreclosed properties in predominantly white communities far more aggressively and consistently than it does homes in mostly black and Latino neighborhoods.
The complaint filed against U.S. Bank and its parent company, U.S. Bancorp, marks the second charge in as many weeks brought by the National Fair Housing Alliance against a major bank. The alliance conducts housing discrimination investigations and receives some funding from HUD. Last week, the alliance accused California-based Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, of similar civil rights violations.
Minnesota-based U.S. Bank is the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. On Tuesday, it also faced separate allegations logged by another nonprofit group that it offers pay day loans at annual interest rates approaching 400 percent to vulnerable consumers.
Alliance investigators examined 177 U.S. Bank properties in seven cities, said Shanna Smith, the alliance’s president and CEO. Public records indicated each of the homes was owned, not simply managed, by U.S. Bank, she said.