The NAACP, or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has filed a lawsuit against more than a dozen lenders seeking class-action status to represent African Americans who were allegedly steered into higher-cost subprime loans because of their race.
The suit did not name individuals who had been harmed, but cited studies based on mortgage loan data collected by the Federal Reserve that show minorities are more likely to take out higher-cost loans than whites.
The Federal Reserve has said that although minorities are more likely than whites to receive high cost loans, more information is needed to determine whether they are intentionally targeted by lenders. The loan-level data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) does not include factors lenders use to make underwriting decisions, such as credit scores, loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios.
Other groups, including the Center for Responsible Lending and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, say the data suggest that racial disparities exist, even when borrower credit risk is equal.
The NAACP’s complaint, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, names Ameriquest Mortgage Co., Fremont Investment & Loan, Option One Mortgage Corp., WMC Mortgage, Countrywide Financial, Long Beach Mortgage Co., CitiGroup Inc., BNC Mortgage Inc., Accredited Home Lenders Inc., Encore Credit, First Franklin Financial, HSBC Finance Corp., and Washington Mutual.