Archive for the ‘Housing’ Category
(Reuters) – The city of Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit against Bank of America in U.S. federal court in California, accusing it of discriminatory mortgage lending in the city's minority communities.
The lawsuit, filed by City Attorney Michael Feuer, accused the bank of engaging in a "continuous pattern and practice of mortgage discrimination" since at least 2004, according to a court filing.
A spokesman for Bank of America could not immediately be reached for comment.
The complaint alleged that the bank's practices led to a wave of foreclosures in minority neighborhoods that continued to hurt the city's property tax revenues and increased the need for city services.
It seeks damages caused by the bank's alleged discriminatory practices, including lost revenue.
(Care2.com) Though formal “redlining“ based on race was banned decades ago, a new report finds that Latinos still face rampant discrimination in the housing market. The report, released Monday from the National Council de la Raza (NCLR), found that Latinos looking to buy or rent homes were more often met with hostility, quoted higher fees, and offered fewer options than white prospective buyers.
NCLR sent white and Latino testers to try to buy or rent homes in Birmingham, AL, San Antonio, TX, and Atlanta, GA — three cities with burgeoning Latino communities. Though about 58 percent of Latino testers had no complaints, 42 percent were subjected to discrimination. Housing agents were less willing to schedule appointments with Latino testers than white testers. Some Latino buyers were told they would have to pay an additional deposit or fee that was not mentioned to their white counterparts. Latinos were also specifically told they would need valid identification and a credit check. White testers, on the other hand, were offered cheaper security deposits, lower application fees, discounted rent, and more information about the neighborhood and financing options. They were also shown additional apartments Latinos did not see.
(Los Angeles Times) People with Chinese or Vietnamese roots are as segregated as Latinos in neighborhoods nationwide, a study from Brown University has found. In Los Angeles and Orange counties, the pattern is even more extreme — and has grown more so over the last two decades.
But the same study suggests that that may not necessarily be a problem. In many cities, some Asian Americans live in neighborhoods that appear "separate but equal," with incomes and education levels as high or higher than largely white neighborhoods, researchers said.
That contrasts sharply with the dismal history of segregation for Latinos and blacks in the U.S., said John R. Logan, a Brown University professor of sociology. The flourishing of many Chinese, Indian and Korean neighborhoods may be what keeps people there from moving into more integrated areas.
If your neighborhood is doing well, "where would the motive be to change?" asked Logan, co-author of the study. "There may in fact be a strong element of separation in the future."
It's no surprise that immigrants gravitate toward "ethnoburbs," suburban areas such as Monterey Park that are filled with ethnic businesses. "You can read the newspaper, listen to the radio, buy a house from a real estate agent, go to a doctor and get your groceries from people who speak your language," said Linda Vo, a professor of Asian American studies at UC Irvine.
(National Journal) An overwhelming majority of homes in California’s major cities that are in danger of foreclosure are also in majority-minority ZIP codes, according to a reportreleased this week.
The report focuses particularly on homes with mortgages serviced by Wells Fargo. Of the 21 major California cities examined, more than eight in 10 homes in danger of foreclosure are in areas where at least half of its residents are minorities—evidence, the report’s authors say, that further supports the idea that the housing crisis has been particularly harmful to African-American and Hispanic homeowners.
The findings come on the heels of the housing-market decline and the ensuing Great Recession that ensnared many homeowners who have been fighting to maintain their financial standing and retain their homes. While the report focuses on the California economy, other Americans are in similar circumstances. Across the nation, homeowners—many of them minorities—struggle to stay afloat as they watch their savings plummet and their dreams of maintaining a middle-class American lifestyle disappear. In its place are notices of default and the impending threat of bankruptcy.
(Zack's) Over 3,900 minority borrowers of Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC Analyst Report) will receive nearly $60 million in cash rebates from the company, according to a Bloomberg report. These borrowers were unjustly placed into the non prime loans category despite being eligible for the prime one.
This $60 million payment from Wells Fargo is part of a settlement with the U.S. and is over and above the $125 million payment and $50 million assistance fund that Wells Fargo conceded to pay as part of a settlement that received the federal judge’s nod in September.
Deposited into an escrow account last week, this fund size was calculated following an internal review of loans offered to minority borrowers. On an average, Wells Fargo will provide $14,850 per borrower.
(Business Insider) Can a neighborhood's racial diversity actually mean a healthier housing market?
When Trulia real estate expert Jed Kolko examined the most diverse zip codes in the U.S., he found they not only saw faster population growth in the last year but also saw housing values rise more than others.
It's becoming more clear that "Americans are moving toward diverse neighborhoods," Kolko writes in "Finding Diversity in America."
(IndyStar) Fair housing advocates accuse one of the nation’s largest banks of discriminating against black and Latino neighborhoods in how it maintains and markets foreclosed homes.
A coalition of fair housing agencies, including the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, made the allegations Tuesday in a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The coalition said it evaluated homes owned, serviced or held in trust by Bank of America in three Midwestern cities, including Indianapolis. The group said it found significant disparities in how houses in predominately non-white neighborhoods were maintained and marketed compared with houses in mostly white neighborhoods.
(National Journal) Is the U.S. Race Relations Problem Solved? As the first black president, Obama’s election in 2008 was hailed by many as a new era in the U.S. where race relations would be faced head on, theAssociated Press reports. But the varying viewpoints from several Americans and experts show just how divided the nation remains over the issue.
The (Limited) American Dream: For many Latinos, owning a home is an extremely important event, mostly because it’s equated with achieving the American dream, writes Jennifer Korn, executive director of the Hispanic Leadership Network, for Fox News Latino. But with an 11 percent unemployment rate for Hispanics and the limited scope of President Obama’s foreclosure aid programs, Hispanics are struggling to realize their dreams, Korn argues.