JPMorgan Agrees to $55 Million Settlement of Mortgage Discrimination Complaint: Source

Reuters | January 18, 2017          JPMorgan Chase & Co has agreed to pay $55 million to settle a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against minority borrowers by allowing mortgage brokers to charge them more for home loans, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Justice Department complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, accused the bank of willfully violating the U.S. Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act between 2006 and 2009 and showing "reckless disregard" for the rights of at least 53,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers.

"We’ve agreed to settle these legacy allegations that relate to pricing set by independent brokers," JPMorgan spokeswoman Elizabeth Seymour said. "We deny any wrongdoing and remain committed to providing equal access to credit."

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had no immediate comment.

The alleged discrimination involved so-called wholesale loans that were made through mortgage brokers the bank used to help originate loans, the complaint said. Chase allowed brokers to change rates charged for loans from those initially set based on objective credit-related factors, the complaint said.   Read more here.

Dallas Firm Put Black Homeowners at Higher Risk of Foreclosure, Suit Alleges

The Dallas Morning News|  August 19, 2016       Dallas equity firm Lone Star Funds is being sued by a group of black homeowners in New York who allege the company pushed them toward foreclosure by misleading them about their mortgages.

A 53-year-old plaintiff told a federal court that the company's mortgage servicer would call him almost every day — sometimes two or three times a day — threatening foreclosure and pressuring him to accept an unfavorable change to his loan.

Lone Star's mortgage servicer, Caliber Home Loans, disputed the allegations and called the lawsuit "without merit."

The federal suit filed last week also targets the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At issue is the agency's sale of delinquent mortgages backed by the federal government to private investors such as Lone Star.  

Those sales leave homeowners with fewer protections and disproportionately harm black families because their share of government-insured mortgages in New York City is higher than that of white families, according to the suit. 

A HUD spokesman declined to comment. Meanwhile, Irving-based Caliber maintains that it treats borrowers fairly.

"Every Caliber loan modification is reviewed thoroughly without regard to race, gender, religious, or sexual orientation," executive vice president Marion McDougall said in a prepared statement.  Read more here.