Industry NewsMortgage

Lenders settle discrimination claims by new, expectant moms

Settlements include protections for women on paid maternity leave

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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.HUD said Nashville, Tenn.-based Magna Bank will pay another woman $14,085 for allegedly telling her that she would be required to return to work before her loan application could close.Both lenders denied that they had violated the Fair Housing Act or any other law, saying they settled the allegations to resolve the claims against them.According to the settlement agreement with Magna Bank, an expectant mother planning to go on maternity leave claimed that she was told that her loan had been approved, but t...