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Wells Fargo Targeted by Multiple Discrimination Suits

As she describes it, Beth Jacobson and her fellow loan officers at Wells Fargo Bank “rode the stagecoach from hell” for a decade, systematically singling out blacks in Baltimore and suburban Maryland for high-interest subprime mortgages.

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Matt Roth for The New York Times

A foreclosed home on Barclay Street in Baltimore. The city is suing Wells Fargo Bank over its mortgage lending practices in black neighborhoods.

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Matt Roth for The New York Times

Another foreclosed house on Baltimore’s North Brice Street, which shares a downed fence with a house still lived in.

These loans, Baltimore officials have claimed in a federal lawsuit againstWells Fargo, tipped hundreds of homeowners into foreclosure and cost the city tens of millions of dollars in taxes and city services.

Wells Fargo, Ms. Jacobson said in an interview, saw the black community as fertile ground for subprime mortgages, as working-class blacks were hungry to be a part of the nation’s home-owning mania. Loan officers, she said, pushed customers who could have qualified for prime loans into subprime mortgages. Another loan officer stated in an affidavit filed last week that employees had referred to blacks as “mud people” and to subprime lending as “ghetto loans.”

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June 9, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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