Wells Fargo to Pay $175 Million Over Fair-Lending Violations

image by By Tom Haymes
The Justice Department has announced a $175 million settlement with Wells Fargo over accusations the bank violated fair-lending laws. Nearly 1,200 of the victims resided in the Houston area.

Wells Fargo allegedly engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its mortgage lending from 2004 through 2009. Many borrowers wound up losing their homes when the subprime mortgage market collapsed.

Richard Alderman is associate dean of the University of Houston Law Center.

“People who could have qualified for a prime mortgage at a very low rate were paying several points above that for a mortgage that they didn’t really have to take.”

Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the government will ensure that borrowers hit hard by the housing crisis will have an opportunity to access homeownership.

Cole said Wells Fargo’s discriminatory lending practices resulted in more than 34,000 borrowers in thirty-six states and the District of Columbia paying higher rates for loans solely because of the color of their skin.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...