Wells Fargo, which is being sued by the NAACP, is denying that it steered Blacks and Hispanics toward high-risk, high-interest loans, even though they often had equal or better credit ratings than their White counterparts.
“The NAACP’s allegations are totally unfounded and reckless,” Wells Fargo said in a statement. “We have never tolerated, and will never tolerate, discrimination in any way, shape or form in any of our business practices, products or services. We are proud of our lengthy record leading the industry in responsible lending practices and in support of the communities we serve, which makes the very thought of a discrimination claim reprehensible to us. We intend to vigorously defend these unfounded allegations.”
The NAACP, the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization, filed suits Friday against San Francisco-based Wells Fargo London-based HSBC Holdings in U.S. District Court in California.
The NAACP alleges that African-American homeowners who received subprime mortgage loans from the lenders were more than 30 percent more likely to receive higher-rate loans than White borrowers with the same qualifications.
Wells Fargo says that it bases its loan terms and pricing on market factors and individual customer and loan circumstances, such as the borrower’s credit profile, the type of loan, the loan-to-value ratio and the type of property.