The settlement stems from a HUD-initiated complaint alleging that from 2008-2010, the Wisconsin-based bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices regarding the denial of mortgage loans to African-American and Hispanic applicants and the provision of loan services in neighborhoods with significant African-American or Hispanic populations.
“This settlement sends a strong message that HUD does not tolerate practices that unfairly restrict an equal and open housing market,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “Discriminatory lending practices have too often cut off too many credit-worthy families from the opportunities they need to thrive. This agreement will ensure that more Americans can fulfill their hopes and aspirations.”
Over the next three years, Associated Bank will pay nearly $10 million in the form of lower interest rate home mortgages and down payment/closing cost assistance to qualified borrowers in majority-minority census tracts in the housing market areas of Chicago; Milwaukee; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Racine, Wisconsin; Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Lake County, Illinois. In addition, the bank agreed to:
- Invest nearly $200 million through increased home mortgage lending activity in majority-minority census tracts in these areas;
- Provide nearly $3 million to help existing homeowners repair their properties in these predominantly minority communities;
- Pay $1.4 million to support affirmative marketing of loans in the above census tracts;
- Commit $1.35 million for community reinvestment and fair lending education and training;
- Open four loan production offices in majority-minority census tracts (three in the Chicago area and one in the Milwaukee area), subject to regulatory approval, in addition to three branches Associated has opened or is committed to opening in or near majority-minority census tracts in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Racine since HUD’s complaint was filed; and
- Offer fair housing training to all its employees and agents with substantial residential lending activity within six months and maintain a second level review process for all denied residential loans.
HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity filed a disparate treatment fair housing complaint alleging that between 2008 and 2010, Associated Bank discriminated on the basis of race and national origin regarding the denial of mortgage loans to qualified African-American and Hispanic applicants and the provision of loan services in majority-minority census tracts. HUD’s analysis of Associated Bank’s mortgage lending activity indicated that, compared to other mortgage lenders, Associated made few loans in majority-minority census tracts in five metropolitan areas in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, but did make loans in nearby predominantly white tracts.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale of a dwelling because of race or national origin. The Fair Housing Act also makes it unlawful for any person or other entity whose business includes residential real estate-related transactions to discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of such a transaction, because of race or national origin.
1 Stop Coned LLC offers several Michigan real estate continuing courses on fair housing topics so you can learn more about the dos and don’ts under the Fair Housing Act while earning mandatory con ed hours.
SOURCE: HUD press release (No. 15-064) and legal documents (portions of press release used with permission of HUD)