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 CFPB charges.
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.