WASHINGTON, DC – March 17, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that Charles Schwab Bank has agreed to pay $30,000 settling allegations that the bank refused to accept a loan application from the adult son of a Metairie, Louisiana woman with disabilities. The son, who was acting with his mother’s power of attorney, tried to apply for a loan on his mother’s behalf, but was told that the bank did not accept powers of attorney for “incapacitated borrowers.”
“Lenders must ensure that their policies take into account the needs of all borrowers and do not discriminate against persons with disabilities,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to work with lenders to make sure that their policies and practices make lending opportunities available to everyone.”
The settlement follows a HUD investigation of a complaint against the San Francisco-based bank from a woman with disabilities who said the bank rebuffed her son’s attempt to submit a loan application over the phone on her behalf. The son alleged the bank advised him that it does not accept a power of attorney for “incapacitated borrowers” during the application process and refused to accept the loan information the son offered, despite the fact he had power of attorney for his mother. The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to have policies that discriminate or have a discriminatory effect against persons with disabilities.
According to the voluntary agreement in this case, Charles Schwab Bank agrees to: pay the borrower $25,000, $10,000 of which will go to St. Francis Xavier Church, as a charitable donation on behalf of the borrower; $5,000 to the borrower’s son; permit persons with disabilities, where necessary, to use a power-of-attorney, at no additional cost; update the mortgage education section of its website to include questions and answers regarding powers-of-attorneys; and provide fair lending/fair housing training for its employees.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.