Apparently a whole lot. (No, it's not a knock knock joke, although sometimes the only thing you can do is laugh) I read an article today that cited a court case brought by HUD against BofA for discrimination against people with disabilities. And why would I liken that to Scrooge? Well, to pre-revelation Scrooge that is. Because Scrooge had no problem to treat anyone he encountered badly, especially those who had issues. Scrooge disliked the poor, and one can imagine he would have taken advantage of any one with a disability. It would seem that BofA is right on par with mean old Mr. Scrooge.
And just what did Bank of America do?
It has been alleged that 3 people who were on disability that applied for a mortgage were asked to provide BofA with personal medical information and proof that their Social Security payments would continue. That is a no-no, point blank, end of story.
John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a statement saying "Holding home buyers with disabilities to a higher standard just because they rely on disability payments as a source of income is against the law." He went on to say "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."
Fair Housing is very, very clear on this point, there is no room for misunderstanding. It is illegal to discriminate because of a disability, they may not impose different criteria for a loan if people have a disability from those that don't. And certainly it is against the law to inquire about the nature of the disability itself.
I wonder if there are others out there who suffered the same treatment but didn't come forward. This should be interesting.
And then there is the news that Flagstar Bank agreed to pay $133 million to settle claims that they engaged in fraudulent lending practices.
Oh, say it ain't so.... no, it couldn't be. The "F" word, I shuddered. Fraudulent lending practices? So they could make a profit?
Hmmm.... I can remember hearing people say "if they can fog a mirror, they can get a loan". So I am not surprised, not at all. I don't think any of us are surprised by any of this actually.
The government brought suit, claiming Flagstar Bank improperly approved residential home loans for government insurance. Flagstar has settled... to the tune of $133 million, only because that is the maximum amount they can pay.
I liken the whole thing to the biggest scam perpetrated on the American Public. I think many were scammed into the belief they too could own a home, be part of the big American Dream. And now their dreams have been flushed right down the toilet.
Let's hope these lenders get visited by three ghosts during the night and they wake up and really help repair the damage they caused. I don't know how they can do that, but they really should.
Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate
2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors
2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776
© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain