MVFHC and partner agencies file discrimination complaint against Bank of America
Discrimination alleged in marketing and maintenance of foreclosed homes in Ohio and other areas
The above exhibit showing Bank of America maintenance of REO properties in greater Dayton is included in the entire complaint, which includes the above exhibit (PDF format)
September 25, 2012 — The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) and its partners, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and four other NFHA member agencies around the country, announced a federal housing complaint against Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., and BAC Home Loan Servicing LP. This complaint, filed today with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is the result of an undercover investigation that found that Bank of America maintains and markets foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods in a much better manner than in African-American and Latino neighborhoods.
Bank of America is one of the largest American banks that maintains and sells foreclosed properties and is one of the world’s largest financial institutions. The investigation of 373 foreclosed homes that are owned, serviced or managed by Bank of America demonstrates that the financial giant has engaged in a systemic practice of maintaining and marketing its foreclosed, bank-owned properties (also known as Real Estate Owned or REO properties) in a state of disrepair in communities of color while maintaining and marketing REO properties in predominantly white communities in a far superior manner. The investigation evaluated Bank of America REO properties in Dayton as well as seven other metropolitan areas—Atlanta; Dallas; Grand Rapids; Miami/Fort Lauderdale; Oakland/Richmond/Concord, CA; Philadelphia; Phoenix; and Washington, DC.
Communities of color continue to experience foreclosure rates twice those of white communities and continue to see their REO houses left to deteriorate and sit vacant.
In Dayton, ninety-two percent of Bank of America-owned properties in African-American communities had more than five maintenance or marketing problems, and 58 percent had over ten maintenance or marketing problems.
“Our investigation shows that virtually nothing has been done to appropriately maintain Bank of America REOs in Dayton’s African American neighborhoods,” said MVFHC’s President/CEO Jim McCarthy. “In fact, over the past two and one half years that we investigated how Bank of America maintained REOs in Dayton, the problem has actually gotten worse. I am disgusted by the indifference that Bank of America has shown toward its obligation to comply with federal law and not discriminate when it maintains and markets these homes.”
MVFHC, NFHA and their partner agencies are represented by Joseph M. Sellers and Peter Romer-Friedman of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC. For more information, download a news release about the complaint or download a copy of the complaint (both in PDF format).
In April 2012, MVFHC, NFHA and their partners issued a report on the findings of their REO investigation, The Banks are Back—Our Neighborhoods are Not: Discrimination in the Maintenance and Marketing of REO Properties. The report offers disturbing evidence that the same banks that peddled unsustainable loans to communities of color, triggering the current foreclosure crisis, are now exacerbating damage to those communities and delaying the housing recovery. Since then complaints were filed with HUD against Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank.