African-American and Hispanic Borrowers Who Were Charged Higher Fees or Rates Are Eligible for Compensation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 1, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — The Justice Department filed a settlement agreement and order today that resolved allegations that Chevy Chase Bank F.S.B. engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its home mortgage lending from 2006 through 2009.
The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed in conjunction with the Justice Department’s complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The complaint alleges that Chevy Chase Bank charged elevated prices on mortgage loans made to African-American and Hispanic borrowers in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). Chevy Chase Bank was purchased in 2009 by Capital One, N.A. and Capital One is its successor in interest. The United States’ claims relate solely to loans originated by Chevy Chase Bank and do not relate to any mortgage lending practices of Capital One.
“This settlement ensures that African-American and Hispanic borrowers who paid more for their mortgages as a result of Chevy Chase Bank’s actions will be properly compensated,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We commend Capital One for working cooperatively with the Justice Department to reach this agreement.”
The lawsuit originated from a 2010 referral by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“Every loan applicant should be evaluated on objective factors, and not on the basis of the color of their skin, so we are pleased that these illegal loan pricing practices are being remedied,” said Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry. “The OCC is committed to continuing to work with the Department of Justice and our other federal partners on an interagency basis to ensure fair treatment for everyone in the credit markets.”
Under the proposed settlement, Capital One will pay $2.85 million to approximately 3,100 African-American and Hispanic victims of discrimination. The settlement requires borrowers who are eligible for compensation to be notified and provides for monitoring of the compensation process by the department.
“Our office stands committed to ensuring justice and compensation to those who are victims of unfair lending practices,” said Dana J. Boente, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Through our partnership with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and our membership on the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, we remain steadfastly committed to engaging in this important work.”
The Justice Department’s enforcement of fair lending laws is conducted by the Fair Lending Unit of the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section in the Civil Right Division. Since the Fair Lending Unit was established in February 2010, it has filed or resolved 28 lending matters under the Fair Housing Act, ECOA, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The settlements in these matters provide for a minimum of $660 million in monetary relief for impacted communities and more than 300,000 individual borrowers. The Attorney General’s annual reports to Congress subject to ECOA highlight the department’s accomplishments in fair lending and are available at www.justice.gov/crt/publications .
The Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the OCC are members of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov .
A copy of the complaint, as well as additional information about fair lending enforcement by the Justice Department, can be obtained from the Justice Department’s website at www.justice.gov/fairhousing .