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Bank of America Charged With Disability Discrimination

Bank of America Charged With Disability Discrimination

On Monday the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said it was charging Bank of America Corp. with discriminating against homebuyers with disabilities.

According to HUD, the banking giant “imposed unnecessary and burdensome requirements on borrowers who relied on disability income to qualify for their home loans and required some disabled borrowers to provide physician statements to qualify for home mortgage loans.” Bank of America allegedly did this by asking borrowers to provide proof of their disabilities and the continuation of Social Security income before approving loans, after first denying them.

If the allegations are true then Bank of America violated the Fair Housing Act. The law makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap. This includes imposing different application or qualification criteria based on disability. The law also makes is illegal to inquire about the nature or severity of a disability except in some narrow circumstances.

“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 Trasvia, HUD assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in the press release. “Mortgage companies may verify income and have eligibility standards but they may not single out home buyers with disabilities to delay or deny financing when they are otherwise eligible.”

Bank of America denies the charges and issued the following statement. “[T]here 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.”

The Department of Justice is handling the case as it moves forward.

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Photo from Paul Lowry via flickr.

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28 comments

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4:14AM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

Banks & lending institutions have the right to assess your financial situation to be sure it's stable, but they have no right at all to stick their nose into your private business. The Department of Justice will no doubt decide if this is discrimination & take the appropriate action...

1:35AM PST on Dec 18, 2012

Good!

2:21PM PST on Mar 2, 2012

How is this bank still functioning?

9:19AM PST on Mar 2, 2012

Social security is for life, there is a reason a person has disablity ssi because they cannot WORK!!!! My husband and I just went through this process and we were told to do the doctors note and he just got on ssi and I been on it for 10 ten years, we will not lose our ssi, why do you people think and claim that ssi is NOT Income should educate yourself, until it happens to you you will never understand, I think people like us that are on ssi should be able to own a home just like you normal folks do , this is America.

12:50AM PST on Mar 2, 2012

Jane B, Bas*ard sons of Assholes LOVE customers. They are the golden calves who cough up money for BOA. Like calves they follow along letting the lead cow pick the route. In the case of BOA they charge for it. Cow toll roads.

10:12PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Those of you who bank there? ... time to move your money and make a statement.

10:11PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Again, Bank of America, hits the mark! Do they have any reputable image left?

9:10PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Ah, BofA. Ever #1 with customer service. Not.

7:05PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PAPERS I HAD TO SIGN TO GET A MORTGAGE 30 YEARS AGO?????? It's two inches THICK! The Bank investigated my bank account, my job, my love life, every aspect of my life. I had to wait SIX MONTHS TO GET APPROVED!!! Don't TELL me it's the PEOPLES' FAULT BECAUSE THEY ARE UNSTABLE!!!! IT'S THE BANK'S FAULT BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T CHECK THE PEOPLES' FINANCIAL STABILITY!!!!! It's NOT the peoples' fault!!! What is wrong with you????

3:58PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

If they broke the law, they should be held accountable.

But I strongly support banks trying to ensure that those who are financially unstable don't get to buy homes and be burdened with a mortgage they can't pay - we certainly should have learned that lesson by now.

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