The lawsuit alleges the banking giant refused loans and charged higher interest rates to black customers.
ATLANTA — Lawyers are asking Wells Fargo to address alleged racial inequities after a lawsuit claims the banking giant discriminated against its black mortgage applicants. However, Wells Fargo called the allegations “baseless attacks” in a statement.
At a press conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, attorney Ben Crump called on Wells Fargo shareholders to pass the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) motion for an independent racial equity audit.
Crump also urged other mayors will follow New York Mayor Eric Adams “an unprecedented position to say that New York City will not make new accounts with Wells Fargo until they adequately address these inequities.”
The lawsuit alleges that Wells Fargo discriminated against its black customers during the mortgage process, including by giving back or refusing loans. He also claims that black customers were charged higher interest rates.
Attorneys Ben Crump, co-attorneys Linda Friedman and Suzanne Bish filed the class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo on Feb. 17 in the Northern District of California. It was modified on April 14.
“Homeownership is at the heart of the American dream, and Wells Fargo has pushed that dream beyond the reach of thousands of black Americans with their blatantly discriminatory lending practices,” Crump said in a statement. “Just as we have cried out against police practices that kill black lives, we denounce Wells Fargo’s racially motivated banking practices that kill black opportunities.”
In response to the press conference, Wells Fargo released the following statement in part:
“We are deeply disturbed by the allegations of discrimination which we believe do not stand up to scrutiny. We are confident that we follow relevant Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) guidelines in our decision-making and that our underwriting practices are applied consistently, regardless of a client’s race or ethnicity. These baseless attacks on Wells Fargo stand in stark contrast to the company’s significant, long-term commitment to closing the minority homeownership gap. »
A statement from Wells Fargo said it was the largest mortgage lender to Black families in 2020. The company added that this has been consistent over the past decade compared to the three largest bank lenders combined.
However, a Bloomberg Report of March indicates that less than half of black applicants were approved by the bank lender.
Read more from Wells Fargo statement on their website.