Lenders in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and California settle racial discrimination complaints

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), recently resolved three cases of lending discrimination in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and California which garnered settlements totaling $17,000. All three settled complaints involved racial discrimination.

Reed and Cora Brown, an African-American couple from Pennsylvania, settled their fair lending complaint for $10,000. The Browns sued First Union Corporation, a mortgage lender.

The Browns attempted to submit a mortgage application to First Fidelity Bank, which was later bought by First Union. The Browns were denied the opportunity to submit the application. Loan officers at First Fidelity referred the Browns to another lender. The other lender specialized in offering high interest loans to applicants with bad credit. The Browns had a good credit record.

In Phoenix, Arizona, Aames Home Loans agreed to pay $4,000 to settle a claim by Consuelo Salas, a Hispanic homeowner. Salas accused Aames of charging her higher loan fees because she is Hispanic. Aames agreed to settle the claim without a full hearing. In addition to the monetary settlement, Aames agreed to train its employees in fair lending and to conduct an intensive review of its policies to ensure that they are not discriminatory.

Johnnie Meadows of Los Angeles, California received $3,000 for the complaint he filed against The Associates Financial Services. Meadows claimed that the lender charged him an excessively high interest rate on a loan to repair earthquake damage to his home. Meadows asserted that the lender charged a higher rate because his home is in an African-American neighborhood.