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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, September 13,2012
Department of Justice
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Justice Department ReachesSettlement with Bank of America toResolve Allegations of Discrimination AgainstRecipients of Disability Income
SettlementProvides Compensation to Victims Identified by the Department of Justice andEstablishes Procedures for Treating Borrowers Fairly Who Receive DisabilityIncome
Bank of America N.A. has agreed to maintain revised policies,conduct employee training and pay compensationto victims to resolve allegationsthat it engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis ofdisability and receipt of public assistance in violation of the Fair Housing Act(FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act(ECOA). The settlement, which is subject tocourt approval, was filed today in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., where Bank of America is headquartered. The terms of the settlement require Bank ofAmerica to pay $1,000, $2,500 or$5,000 to eligible mortgage loan applicants whowere asked to provide a letter from their doctor to document theincome theyreceived from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Applicants whowere asked to providemore detailed medical information to document their incomemay be paid more than those who were asked tohave a doctor verify their sourceof income. Bank of America will hire a third party administrator to searchapproximately 25,000 loan applications involving SSDI income to identify anyother victims. Under thesettlement, Bank of America will conduct trainingof its underwriters and loan officers and will monitor loanapplications toensure that applications from disabled individuals are treated in a mannerconsistent withapplicable law.This lawsuit arose as a result of three complaints filed by loanapplicants with the U.S. Department of Housingand Urban Development(HUD). After investigating the complaints, HUD undertook a broaderinvestigation intoBank of America’s practices. Bank of America revisedits policies for documenting disability income duringHUD’s investigation. The Assistant Secretary of HUD elected to have the case heard in federal courtand referredthe case to the Department of Justice. The HUD complainantswill receive a total of $125,000 to their harm andcompensate them for costsassociated with their loan applications. “Loan applicants with disabilitiesshould not be subjected to invasive requests for medical information from adoctor when they are applying for credit,”said Thomas E. Perez, AssistantAttorney General for the JusticeDepartment’s Civil Rights Division. “Today’s settlement shines a light on a practice that violates the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.” The settlement comes after aninvestigation by the Justice Department. Bank of America cooperated fullywiththe department’s investigation into its lending practices and agreed tosettle this matter without contestedlitigation. The lawsuit was developedand filed by the Fair Lending Unit of the Housing and Civil EnforcementSectionin the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Since the Fair LendingUnit was established inFebruary 2010, it has filed or resolved 22 lendingmatters under the Fair Housing Act, the Equal CreditOpportunity Act, and theServicemembers Civil Relief Act. The finalized settlements in thesematters provide fora minimum of $370 million in monetary relief for more than200,000 individual borrowers.
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