The city of Miami says JPMorgan Chase & Co took advantage of minority homebuyers so it’s suing the bank, alleging predatory mortgage lending in minority neighborhoods resulted in massive foreclosures during the last decade’s housing crisis.
According to the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Florida, “the country’s largest bank engaged in a continuous practice of discriminatory mortgage lending since at least 2004, violating the U.S. Fair Housing Act,” reports The Huffington Post.
The lawsuit says JPMorgan issued high-cost loans to minorities prior to the housing crisis, but later refused to refinance the loans on the same terms as it extended to whites, which led to defaults and foreclosures. The suit says loans in predominantly minority communities in Miami were nearly 4.6 times more likely to result in foreclosure than loans in mostly-white neighborhoods.
Miami leads the country in foreclosures.
“The Miami City Attorney’s claims are baseless and stand contrary to our long record of providing affordable housing to low- to moderate-income families across the region,” JPMorgan spokesman Jason Lobo said.
Miami isn’t the only city taking legal action against the way a bank does business with minority customers. The city of Los Angeles recently filed similar claims against JPMorgan, asking for damages due to lost tax revenue and increased city services needed in depressed neighborhoods.
And other banks have been accused of the same thing. Wells Fargo & Co, Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Corp have also been sued by Los Angeles and Miami for allegedly giving minorities unaffordable home loans, which resulted in numerous defaults.
The banks deny any wrongdoing, though Wells Fargo and Citigroup were unsuccessful in having their lawsuits tossed.