NEWARK – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey has announced its partnership with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division as it launches the department’s new anti-redlining initiative.
Redlining is an illegal practice in which lenders avoid providing services to people living in communities of color due to the race or national origin of the people who live in those communities. The new initiative represents the department’s most aggressive and coordinated law enforcement effort to combat redlining, which is prohibited by the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
“Discrimination in lending goes against fundamental promises of our economic system. When people are denied credit simply because of their race or national origin, their ability to participate in the prosperity of our country is virtually eliminated, ”said Attorney General Garland. “Today we are committed to tackling modern day redlining by making much more robust use of our fair lending authorities. We will spare no resources to ensure that federal fair loan laws are rigorously enforced and that financial institutions provide every American with an equal opportunity to obtain credit. “
“Redlining is a form of discrimination that has devastating consequences for communities of color. Said Interim US Attorney Rachael A. Honig. “By systematically and illegally denying credit to those who live in minority neighborhoods, a bank that applies red lines is causing the deterioration of these neighborhoods by unfairly denying residents the possibility of owning property. This office vigorously enforced the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act to combat the practice of redlining. In 2015, in conjunction with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the Office of Consumer Financial Protection, we filed a complaint for a consent order requiring the Hudson City Savings Bank to end its practice or to his practice of highlighting predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods. The consent order, which was the Justice Department’s largest residential mortgage redlining settlement in its history, required the bank to make systemic changes to its practices and pay out $ 25 million in consumer loan subsidies in the districts in red. We are pleased that earlier this year the bank fulfilled its obligations under the schedule set out in the consent order. This office enthusiastically joins the Department of Justice’s Combatting Redlining Initiative and will continue its work to end redlining in the New Jersey District.
Redlining, a practice institutionalized by the federal government during the New Deal era and implemented then and today by private lenders, has had a lasting negative impact. For American families, homeownership remains the primary means of creating wealth, and the deprivation of investment and access to mortgage services for communities of color has contributed to families of color. consistently lag behind in homeownership rates and net worth compared to white families. The gap in homeownership rates between white and black families is larger today than it was in 1960, before the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
This initiative, which will be led by the Housing and Civil Law Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division in partnership with United States prosecutors’ offices, will build on the Division’s longstanding work of seeks to make mortgage credit and home ownership available to all Americans on equal terms, regardless of race or national origin, and regardless of the neighborhood in which they live. The Civil Rights Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey will continue its active partnership with the Civil Rights Division by joining this initiative. The initiative:
• Use US prosecutors’ offices as force multipliers to ensure that equitable loan application is informed by local expertise in housing markets and the credit needs of local communities of color.
• Extend the ministry’s analyzes on potential reclassification to depository and non-depository institutions. Non-depository lenders are not traditional banks and do not provide typical banking services, but engage in mortgages and now do the majority of mortgages in this country.
• Strengthen our partnership with financial regulators to ensure the identification and referral of fair loan violations to the Department of Justice.
• Increase coordination with state attorneys general on potential violations of equitable loans.
Individuals can report loan discrimination by calling the Department of Justice’s Housing Discrimination Hotline at 1-833-591-0291, or by submitting a report online. Discrimination complaints can also be filed by contacting the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey at (855) 281-3339 or by filing a complaint online.