The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

New Accusations That Wells Fargo Targeted Blacks for Subprime Loans

December 31, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

This time in Memphis. In fact, city officials are so fired up that they’ve filed a lawsuit charging the mortgage-loan giant with discrimination. The New York Times reports:

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tennessee, marshaled a raft of statistics to argue that Wells Fargo offered one lending reality for whites and another for blacks. In Shelby County, which includes Memphis, one of every eight Wells Fargo loans in predominantly black neighborhoods resulted in foreclosure, compared with only one in 59 such loans in white neighborhoods, the lawsuit said.

Such charges, if proven, amount to reverse redlining — marketing expensive loan products specifically to black customers.

For anyone who’s been following the reporting of TWI’s Mary Kane on Wells Fargo, this should come as no surprise. First, there was that Cleveland case in which Wells was found to be violating public nuisance laws by failing to clean up its foreclosed properties. Next came the charges from the state of Illinois that Wells had targeted Latino residents for subprime loans, even in cases when potential borrowers could afford less expensive options. Then came the California-based class-action lawsuit alleging subprime discrimination against the bank. And finally, Mary uncovered the bank’s alleged strategy of hiring high-profile black figures such as Tavis Smiley to lure potential black borrowers to “Wealth Building” seminars, where Wells employees would be waiting to sign attendees up for more expensive subprime loans, according to a lawsuit filed by the Illinois attorney general.

Almost seems like there’s a trend here.

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