2007 by Target Market News Inc. All rights reserved
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NAACP mortgage class
action against WaMu, Citi, GMAC, others is fast tracked
(March 11, 2008) The NAACP and lead counsel Brian Kabateck filed papers
Friday, March 7, that will fast track their federal class action lawsuit
against Washington Mutual, Citi, GMAC and 15 other mortgage firms who
systematically steered African American borrowers into predatory loans.
"The victims in this case had the same credit, the same income and the
same qualifications as the lenders' other customers. The only difference
was the color of their skin. That's why they were stuck with abusive
loans," said Kabateck, Managing Partner of Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP.
"Quickly resolving this case is essential for victims who have ruined
credit and who are losing their homes. This isn't just about justice for
the victims. This case is about making sure that this kind of
discrimination is stamped out for good," said NAACP General Counsel Angela
The defendants in this case are CitiMortgage, Suntrust Mortgage, GMAC
Rescap, JP Morgan, National City, First Horizon, Ameriquest Mortgage
Company, Fremont Investment & Loan, Option One Mortgage Corporation, WMC
Mortgage Corporation, Long Beach Mortgage Company, BNC Mortgage,
Accredited Home Lenders, Bear Sterns Residential Mortgage Corporation,
Encore Credit, First Franklin Financial Corporation, HSBC Finance
Corporation and Washington Mutual, Inc.
This suit is the first to have ever charged so many major mortgage lenders
with racial discrimination.
The suit is supported by a wealth of government and other research:
-- A 2008 study by United for a Fair Economy finds cites federal data
showing people of color are more than three times more likely to have
subprime loans: high-cost loans account for 55% of loans to African
Americans, but only 17% of loans to Caucasians. The study estimated losses
of between $164 billion and $213 billion for subprime loans taken by
people of color during the past eight years. This is thought to be "the
greatest loss of wealth for people of color in modern US history."
-- A July 2007 report by Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage
Corporation) showed that minority borrowers pay higher annual percentage
rates on mortgage loans than non-minorities with equal income and credit
risk. For instance, in 2005, African American borrowers paid an average of
128 basis points more for loans than their white counterparts. In the
subprime market, the difference was even greater -- 275 basis points more.
-- A 2006 Center for Responsible Lending study that found when income and
credit risk were equal, African-Americans were 31 percent to 34 percent
more likely to receive higher-rate, more expensive subprime loans than
-- The National Community Reinvestment Coalition found in 2006 that
lending institutions in six major metropolitan areas were engaged in
"pervasive discriminatory and predatory practices" involving high-cost
subprime loans to African-Americans. The metro areas were: Baltimore,
Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Atlanta.
-- In addition to finding discrimination nationwide, the study found that
people of all income levels -- not just low or middle -- were victimized.
For example, the study found that in Boston, 73 percent of high income
($92,000 to $152,000 annual salary) African Americans received subprime
loans in 2005.
Studies have also shown the "spillover" effect of these loans.
"Home ownership is supposed to build wealth to invest in communities, pay
for college and support peoples' retirements. Instead, these predatory
lenders have sent their victims spiraling backward into debt and
foreclosure," Ciccolo said. "Entire neighborhoods are dragged down when
foreclosed homes sink property values, attract crime and reduce the tax
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