The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved a conciliation agreement that settles Los Angeles-area redlining charges raised by the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) against CIT Group Inc. and CIT Bank NA, which operates OneWest Bank.
The CRC’s complaint alleged OneWest Bank discriminated in the marketing and origination of home mortgages to African-American and Latino borrowers relative to the demographics of the Los Angeles area between 2014 and 2017. The complaint also observed the bank had 60 retail branches in Southern California but did not maintain branches in communities that were predominantly non-White.
OneWest Bank denied that it violated the Fair Housing Act, but agreed to the agreement in order to provide “important and valuable assistance to minority communities in its service areas.” As part of the agreement, OneWest pledged to invest $5 million in a loan subsidy fund to increase credit opportunities for residents of predominantly non-White neighborhoods, allocate $1.3 million toward advertising and community outreach in these neighborhoods, and provide $1 million in grants for homebuyer education, credit counseling, community revitalization and homeless programs. OneWest Bank also pledged to originate $100,000,000 in home purchase, home improvement and home refinance loans to borrowers in majority-minority areas and open a full-service branch serving a predominantly nonwhite neighborhood.
“Homeownership is the foundation of the American dream," said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s settlement is an important step toward ensuring access to that dream for all borrowers, regardless of their race or national origin.”