Fair Housing Organizations Find Bank of America Discriminates in the Midwest

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - NegociosThis week, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the HOPE Fair Housing Center, the South Suburban Housing Center, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council and the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana announced a federal housing discrimination complaint against Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America, N.A., and BAC Home Loan Servicing, LP. This complaint is the result of an undercover investigation of Bank of America that found the financial giant maintains and markets foreclosed homes in White neighborhoods in a much better manner than in African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Chicago, Milwaukee and Indianapolis.

The complaint was filed with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and is part of an amended complaint NFHA and seven member agencies filed October 10 that looks at how Bank of America has differently maintained and marketed properties in White, African-American, and Latino neighborhoods across the country.

Bank of America is one of the largest American banks that maintains and sells foreclosed properties and is one of the world’s largest financial institutions. The investigation in 13 cities of 505 foreclosed homes owned, serviced or managed by Bank of America demonstrates that it has engaged in a systemic practice of maintaining and marketing its foreclosed, bank-owned homes (also known as Real Estate Owned or REO properties) in a state of disrepair in communities of color while maintaining and marketing REO properties in predominantly White communities. The investigation has evaluated Bank of America REO properties in 13 cities including Chicago. Communities of color continue to experience foreclosure rates twice that of White communities and continue to see their REO properties left to deteriorate and sit vacant.

“Good neighbors are considerate, they take care of their yards, pick up their trash and care for their neighborhoods,” said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “Bank of America is not a good neighbor in communities of color. Instead, one of the nation’s largest holders of foreclosed homes is busy making excuses and passing the buck when it comes to taking responsibility for the homes it owns or services. In many White neighborhoods, Bank of America’s foreclosed properties fit in with most other homes for sale on the block, with manicured lawns and “for sale” signs. African-American and Latino neighborhoods deserve equal treatment.”

Additional detailed statistics is available at www.nationalfairhousing.org.

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