Lenders can’t deny mortgage loans to women solely because they are pregnant or on temporary maternity leave, federal regulators said in announcing settlements with two lenders who were accused of doing so.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said Irvine, Calif.-based Home Loan Center Inc. — better known to consumers as Lending Tree Loans — will pay $15,000 to a woman who claimed her application to refinance her mortgage was denied because she was on maternity leave.

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