Cuomo, mortgage brokers come to agreement

John O'Brien Jan. 5, 2009, 4:55pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has settled two actions brought against mortgage brokerage companies he claimed were discriminating against minorities.

Cuomo on Monday announced the agreements with HCI Mortgage and Consumer One Mortgage. The companies will pay a collective $665,000 in restitution to black and Latino consumers who were allegedly charged higher fees than similarly situated white consumers.

"The blatant discrimination in this case is as illegal as it is inexcusable," Cuomo said. "These customers were charged significantly higher fees for no reason other than being a minority - something that is explicitly against the law in New York State."

Cuomo still has similar lawsuit pending against U.S. Capital Funding.

Cuomo says his office's investigation found that, on average, black and Latino borrowers were charged several thousand dollars more in up-front fees than whites.

Latinos who used HCI Mortgage paid an average of 55 percent more in fees, while black borrowers were charged about 46 percent more, Cuomo claims.

The agreement also requires the companies adopt a standard fee schedule that will be disclosed to borrowers, internally monitor the imposition of fees and provide reports to Cuomo's office to ensure compliance.

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