WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Consumer Finance
Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have announced the filing
of a complaint against BancorpSouth Bank, alleging the company violated
the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Fair Housing Act by
discriminating against African- Americans and other minority consumers.
The CFPB believes the company engaged in what is called
redlining, an illegal practice where people living in a certain area do not
receive the same credit opportunities as people in other areas, due to race,
color or any other prohibited reason. The practice is illegal under the ECOA.
BancorpSouth allegedly denied fair access to credit to
minority-neighborhood residents in the Memphis area. The company would open
branches and target its marketing activity outside of minority neighborhoods,
which discouraged prospective minority borrowers from applying for credit, the
Additional complaints charge the defendants with unlawfully
denying certain mortgage loans to African-American applicants and overcharging
some of its African-American customers.
The complaint seeks a consent order that will force
BancorpSouth to revise its policies, provide fair lending training to its
employees and pay $4 million to subsidize mortgage loans in the Memphis
minority neighborhoods that were allegedly victimized.