Bank Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit With DOJ \r

Midwest BankCentre has agreed to invest in St. Louis urban communities in response to allegations.


In a settlement with the Department of Justice, Midwest BankCentre has agreed to resolve allegations that it had discriminated against African-American residential mortgage customers in St. Louis, Missouri, from 2006 to 2008.


"This type of discrimination is part of the web of intolerable practices that stripped vast amounts of wealth from communities of color in the last decade," said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s civil rights division.


The DOJ claimed the bank violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The bank also scored a “low satisfactory” rating in two out of three areas of its fair lending review.


Midwest Bank Centre denied the allegations, but has agreed to open a full-service bank and invest $1.45 million in predominately African-American areas of St. Louis. The investment includes $900,000 in financing to increase credit in Black neighborhoods, $300,000 for credit repair and credit education programs and $250,000 for outreach to new customers. "We are pleased to be moving forward," bank chairman Ronald T. Barnes said in a press release. "Midwest BankCentre will continue to advance constructive banking, lending and educational programs that will make a meaningful difference in our community. The St. Louis region has been good to Midwest BankCentre for 105 years, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to help address the economic challenges so many in our community are facing today."


(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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