Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank has settled a discrimination case with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for $125,000 without acknowledging wrongdoing, HUD said.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity pursued the case on behalf of Nannette Bishop, an African-American, who alleged that she was denied a loan to purchase a house in Newport, Ky., solely because of her race, HUD said.

“We are glad that the situation has been resolved,” Debra DeCourcy, a Fifth Third Bank spokeswoman, said. The bank had no other comment.

In August 2003, Bishop applied for a $70,000 loan to buy a house that cost $130,000, HUD said. She had expected to receive another $60,000 from a private, non-profit United Way agency under a special second-chance subsidy program that helps consumers who have blemishes in their credit histories, according to HUD.

Bishop alleged that in September 2003 Fifth Third Bank told her that her loan was denied because she failed to meet the bank’s underwriting guidelines, HUD said. Bishop, however, believed she was really being discriminated against because of her race, HUD said.

HUD’s investigation revealed that during the same time Fifth Third was disapproving Bishop’s loan request, it approved loans for individuals who had credit histories worst than Bishop’s, HUD alleged.

“Americans deserve to be treated fairly when they attempt to obtain a mortgage — the biggest financial commitment most of us will ever make,” said Kim Kendrick, HUD’s assistant secretary for Fair Housing And Equal Opportunity, in a statement. “Through this settlement, Ms. Bishop has been compensated for the harm she suffered.”

Fifth Third Bank denied Bishop’s allegations, but to settle the matter, agreed to pay her $125,000, HUD said. In addition, HUD said, the bank agreed to, among other things:

  • Increase the Qualified Community development lending from $5 million to $7 million for northern Kentucky and increase the lending from $40 million to $50 million, according to HUD;

  • Start funding loans from the Community Development Corporation in Northern Kentucky up to $500,000 and in Cincinnati up to $5.5 million, according to HUD;

  • Donate one Real Estate Owned (REO) property and $10,000 dollars for rehabilitation to Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky, according to HUD;

  • Donate two REO properties and $10,000 dollars in grant money for each property’s rehabilitation to an affordable housing agency in Cincinnati, according to HUD;

  • Maintain participation in Greater Cincinnati Micro-Enterprise Initiative, according to HUD;

  • Maintain and increase participation in Cincinnati Development Fund from $5 million to $7 million; and

  • Maintain Bancorp standards relating to financial education service standards by offering 35 home buyer-training classes and 24 basic financial literacy classes, according to HUD.

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