NAACP protests mortgage discrimination, files lawsuit

SEATTLE-The National NAACP declared a National Day of Action against mortgage discrimination earlier this month. Across the U.S. in over 15 major markets, local NAACP branches held press conferences on courthouse steps, in front of banks and in areas hard

SEATTLE-The National NAACP declared a National Day of Action against mortgage discrimination earlier this month.

Across the U.S. in over 15 major markets, local NAACP branches held press conferences on courthouse steps in front of banks and in areas hard hit by trusted lending institutions.

“Every one of us deserves equal access to the American Dream of home ownership,” said NAACP General Counsel Angela Ciccolo.

“Making amends is just the beginning. We want to make sure African- Americans are never victimized by the lending industry again.”

The NAACP has filed a class action lawsuit against 17 of the nation’s largest lenders for discriminatory lending practices. The defendants are Washington Mutual, Inc, CitiMortgage, Suntrust Mortgage, GMAC Rescap, JP Morgan, National City, First Horizon, Ameriquest Mortgage Company, Fremont Investment & Loan, Option One Mortgage Corporation, WMC Mortgage Corporation, Long Beach Mortgage Company, BNC Mortgage, Accredited Home Lenders, Bear Stearns Residential Mortgage Corporation, Encore Credit, First Franklin Financial Corporation and HSBC Finance Corporation.

According to the NAACP, there is a nationwide epidemic in the housing market in which every racial and ethnic group has been touched. The NAACP also alleges that the victims in the lawsuit filed by the NAACP were maliciously discriminated against strictly based on race.

“The only difference between the victims in this case and the lenders’ other customers is the color of their skin,” said Brian Kabateck, who is the case’s co-lead counsel. “They had the same credit, the same income and the same qualifications. But because they were African American, they were ripped off.”

The case alleges that these lenders gave African American borrowers worse loans (higher interest rates and other poor terms) than borrowers of other races with the same credit, income and other qualifications.

The NAACP further alleges that discrimination took place across the country and across income levels, including African American borrowers with six figure incomes, six figure down payments and excellent credit histories.

“We want to force these lenders to make amends for the discriminatory practices,” said Oscar Eason, president of Ala., Ore. and Wa. State- Area Conference of the NAACP of the lawsuit.

“We want to stamp out this sort of discrimination for good.”

Special to the NNPA from the Seattle Medium

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