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Bank of America Faces Foreclosure Discrimination Complaint Over Neglecting Minority Neighborhoods

securitizationauditservices.com | October 1, 2013

The National Fair Housing Alliance hit Bank of America with an expanded complaint that it neglected maintenance and marketing of foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods, while simultaneously investing more time and money into the upkeep and marketing of homes in primarily white communities.

On Wednesday the NFHA expanded the complaint it filed one year ago to include five new cities: Memphis, Denver, Las Vegas, Tucson, and Philadelphia. The complaint also includes further evidence about additional cases of discrimination. In total, the NFHA claims it has uncovered discriminatory practices in the way Bank of America handled 621 properties in 18 metropolitan areas.

“Every day Bank of America continues to neglect homes it owns in communities of color and prices decline, allowing investors to snatch up these foreclosures, turning communities into neighborhoods of absentee landlords,” NFHA Chief Executive Shanna L. Smith said. “[Bank of America] has been on notice of these problems since 2009, [but they’re] all talk and no show.”

After a year-long investigation into Bank of America’s unlawful practices, the alliance discovered that homes serviced by Bank of America in minority communities were significantly more rundown than those homes located in predominately white neighborhoods. The minority homes revealed general disrepair with broken windows, overgrown yards and no for-sale signs.

“This discriminatory treatment discourages purchasers from buying homes in minority communities,” said Janell Byrd, a housing lawyer. “It reinforces the difference in property values between majority-white and majority-minority communities. And it exacerbates a gross disparity between the wealth of whites and minorities.”

Bank of America officials have fought back against these charges citing inaccuracies and a flawed methodology. According to bank spokeswoman, Jumana Bauwens, a number of the homes referred to in the NFHA’s report were the responsibility of other parties including the Federal Hosing Administration or were already in a serious state of disrepair when the bank seized them.

The NFHA has filed two additional complaints against U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

 

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