Oakland Sues Wells Fargo For Predatory Lending Against City’s Black, Hispanic Residents
by Mike Blasky, Oakland Tribune
City officials on Monday filed a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo, accusing the banking giant of widespread predatory lending and discrimination against the city’s black and Hispanic residents.
City Attorney Barbara Parker said the bank targeted minority borrowers — including churches — for predatory mortgage loans in violation of the Fair Housing Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
“Wells Fargo’s discriminatory conduct devastated individuals and communities, increasing poverty and wiping out or drastically reducing wealth for minority communities while bankers prospered,” Parker said in a statement.
More expensive and higher-risk loans were given to Oakland’s minority residents, despite that many qualified for favorable loans routinely given to white borrowers, she said.
The lawsuit asked the court to order Wells Fargo to end discriminatory practices and compensate the city for financial harm.
Wells Fargo Spokesman Ruben Pulido defended the bank’s lending practices and expressed dismay at Parker’s accusations.
“The City Attorney’s accusations against Wells Fargo do not reflect how we operate in the communities where we do business and it’s disappointing that she has chosen this course of action over a collaborative approach to helping borrowers and homeowners in Oakland,” Pulido wrote in an email.