WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today an agreement between Wescom Central Credit Union, based in Pasadena, California, and a married couple, resolving allegations the company denied the couple’s mortgage loan application because the wife was on maternity leave. Read the conciliation agreement.
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Refusing to provide a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance because a woman is pregnant or on family leave violates the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against sex and familial status discrimination, which includes discrimination against individuals who have or are expecting a child. Since 2010, HUD received nearly 150 complaints alleging maternity leave discrimination and has obtained more than $8 million in compensation for victims.
“An otherwise qualified borrower should not have their mortgage loan denied or delayed just because they’re having a baby,” said Bryan Greene, HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to protect the rights of families by enforcing the Fair Housing Act and educating the housing industry about their responsibilities under the law.”
The agreement announced today stems from a complaint that a married couple from Santa Ana, California filed with HUD. The couple alleged that Wescom Credit Union unfairly denied their mortgage loan and that the lender requested the woman return to work and provide a current pay stub before they would approve the loan application.
Under the terms of the agreement Wescom will:
- Refinance the couple’s existing mortgage at a lower rate;
- Create a $50,000 compensation fund for applicants who were similarly denied loans or withdrew mortgage applications from Wescom during calendar year 2015;
- Ensure its lending policies regarding parental leave comply with the Fair Housing Act;
- Provide fair lending training to its employees; and
- Send a notice to its employees regarding its parental leave lending policies.
People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.