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What is “discriminatory lending” anyway?

The Department of Justice, which has not exactly been chomping at the bit to investigate or prosecute the financial industry fraud that lead to the global economic crash, the depletion of savings, and the loss of millions of American families’ homes, has settled with three banks over “discriminatory lending practices”.   Our firm, which specializes in foreclosure and debt defense for South Floridians affected by these and other lending abuses, suspect more settlements of this sort to be announced in the future.

Let’s be very clear about the racist behavior of our top banks.

Imagine three families; one Caucasian, one Black, one Latino.  All three have the same exact financial profile; income, debts, assets, credit score.  All three exactly the same except for the color of their skin and their ethnic background.  The broker gets a bonus commission for offering the Black and Latino families worse loans; higher interest, adjustable rates, balloon payments, prepayment penalties, origination fees, servicing fees, etc.

Who knew that borrowing while Black or Latino was viewed as a bonus profit center for our nation’s top banks?  At the moment, only Countrywide/Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and GFI Mortgage have signed settlement agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice.  We at Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen are reasonably certain that these three financial institutions are not the only ones with racist lending practices.

In South Florida we’ve been hit particularly hard by these particularly disgusting and illegal practices since our demographics are heavily Latino.   This language is pulled directly from the Department of Justice Website page on GFI’s racist lending practices “GFI engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by pricing residential mortgage loans for qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher than for similarly qualified non-Hispanic white borrowers between 2005 and 2009. U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest approved the consent order, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan where GFI is headquartered.  No prospective homebuyer should be saddled with a higher cost mortgage because of their race or national origin,” says John Trasviña, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary. “This type of practice has no place in the mortgage market. HUD and the Justice Department have made a vigorous commitment to ending unlawful lending discrimination.”

In Palm Beach County’s official records, there are 220 records that result from a search of the name GFI Mortgage.  In Broward County’s official records, there are 300 records listed in a search for GFI Mortgage and in Miami-Dade, 24 records.  If you or anyone you know has been sold a racist and discriminatory loan by GFI Mortgage, Countrywide/Bank of America, or Wells Fargo, it is imperative to defend for both yourself and your community against the harm caused by these practices.  The Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen is here to help.

For the article on FloridaRealtors.org titledGFI Mortgage settles discrimination suit click here.