September 02, 2014

N.Y. accuses local bank of 'redlining'

Sept. 3, 2014 – The New York State attorney general is accusing the regional Evans Bank of violating the Fair Housing Act for not offering mortgages to predominantly minority communities regardless of a consumers' creditworthiness, or "redlining," according to reports.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed suit in a New York state court. The New York Times reported that prosecutors in the suit noted that since 2009, "Evans Bancorp has created a map that defined the ‘trade area,' places in the Buffalo metropolitan region where the bank would make mortgages and other loans. The bank, prosecutors contend, deliberately excised much of Buffalo's East Side."

NYT noted that since the financial crisis, there is a "patchy credit drought" being formed as "banks refuse to lend in those same minority communities where credit once flowed."

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that some large banks, including Wells Fargo & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase, are retreating from the home-loan market due to mortgage-related legal settlements, new banking standards and increased regulations.

However, NAFCU Chief Economist and Director of Research Curt Long pointed out that credit unions continue to increase their mortgage lending market share and that more than 8 percent of mortgage originations are now made by credit unions.