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Feds Sue B of A For Homebuyer Discrimination

The federal government leveled charges against ""Bank of America"":https://www.bankofamerica.com/ Monday that the mortgage company wrongfully discriminated against three borrowers with disabilities.

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""HUD"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD filed suit under the False Claims Act, alleging that Bank of America requested proof of disability from borrowers and Social Security income information after denying their qualifications for mortgage loans.

The agency led up to the charges with a ""Secretary-initiated investigation,"" according to a statement, following an

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investigation into complaints brought by two borrowers in Michigan and one in Wisconsin.

""Holding homebuyers with disabilities to a higher standard just because they rely on disability payments as a source of income is against the law,"" ""John Trasvi├âãÆ├é┬▒a"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/Assistant-Secretary, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, said in a statement.

He said that mortgage companies are able to verify income and eligibility criteria but ""may not single out homebuyers with disabilities to delay or deny financing when they are otherwise eligible.""

Terry Francisco, a spokesperson for Bank of America, said in a statement that the three cases brought by HUD ""involve inconsistencies between FHA and conventional standards concerning underwriting procedures"" for durability income awards.

""There is no basis to allege that Bank of America has engaged in a systemic practice of discriminating on the basis of disability in connection with mortgage lending,"" he said.

In a sign of the growing authority for working groups, HUD said that it would hand off the investigation to the ""Justice Department"":http://www.justice.gov/ and Federal Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which will assign the case to a non-discrimination group.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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