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DOJ Settlement with Bank of America to Resolve Claims of Disability Discrimination and Compensate Victims

Author: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs(i) : Contact: www.justice.gov

Published: 2020-07-31

Synopsis and Key Points:

Complaint alleges that the Bank of America refused to issue mortgages to individuals who are under guardianships.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits banks from denying mortgage loans and other housing-related credit to people because of their disabilities...

The Bank has ended its practice of denying mortgage and home equity loans to adults with disabilities under guardianships or conservatorships.

Main Digest

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York recently filed a civil complaint and proposed settlement agreement to resolve claims that Bank of America, N.A. (Bank) engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The settlement agreement is subject to approval by the federal district court.

The department alleges in its complaint that for several years beginning in January 2010, the Bank maintained a policy of denying mortgage and home equity loans to adults with disabilities who were under legal guardianships or conservatorships. The Bank changed this policy in 2016 for mortgage loans and in 2017 for home equity loans.

"No one in this free country should be denied access to the American dream merely because of a disability. The unalienable right to pursue happiness extends to all people, including those with disabilities, and purchasing a home is one way many people exercise this right," said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.

"The Fair Housing Act prohibits banks from denying mortgage loans and other housing-related credit to people because of their disabilities, and this department will hold accountable those lenders who engage in such illegal conduct. Today's settlement provides compensation to victims of unlawful discrimination and requires Bank of America to apply non-discriminatory policies in deciding which applicants will receive loans."

"This settlement ensures that Bank of America will no longer discriminate against people with disabilities when issuing mortgage and home equity loans, and compensates the victims for their losses," said Seth D. DuCharme, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. "Our Office is committed to standing up for the rights of individuals with disabilities and taking action when necessary to vindicate those rights."

The Justice Department's enforcement of fair lending laws is conducted by the Civil Rights Division's Housing and Civil Enforcement Section.

(i)Source/Reference: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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