Thursday, April 19, 2012

NFHA Files Complaint Against U.S. Bank for Discrimination

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) filed a federal housing discrimination complaint against U.S. Bank on Tuesday following an investigation of the bank’s properties.

The NFHA stated that the investigation of 177 foreclosed properties owned by U.S. Bank showed that REO properties in African-American and Latino neighborhoods were not as well maintained and marketed as bank-owned properties in white neighborhoods.

The U.S. Bank investigation evaluated REO properties in seven metropolitan areas – Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Dayton, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Oakland/Richmond/Concord, and Washington, DC.

“Our findings underscore the obvious: properties that are poorly maintained not only lose value but have a higher likelihood of selling to an investor, rather than to a family,” said Shanna L. Smith, NFHA president and CEO. “U.S. Bank is making it harder for the market to come back in communities of color.”

The NFHA and four member organizations – the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Metro Fair Housing Services, and HOPE Fair Housing Center, evaluated the REO properties for 39 types of maintenance or marketing deficiencies, including overgrown lawns, no “for sale” signs, and trash on the property.

In Dayton, it was found that 94 percent of all U.S. Bank properties in communities of color were missing a for sale sign and about three-fourths in Atlanta , Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. had “substantial” amounts of trash.

NFHA also filed a discrimination complaint against Wells Fargo last week.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on race and applies to housing activities including maintenance, appraisal, listing, marketing, and selling of homes.

By: Esther Cho

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