FTC alleges bias in loan 'overages'

GEM Mortgage denies charging Hispanic applicants more

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A Bakersfield, Calif.-based lender is disputing charges that it charged Hispanic applicants larger "overages" than whites when pricing mortgage loans, in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

The Federal Trade Commission alleges that Golden Empire Mortgage Inc. and its owner, Howard Dewey Kootstra, employed a discretionary pricing policy that resulted in Hispanics paying more for their loans, on average, than non-Hispanic whites.