Memphis Foreclosures Suggest Discriminatory Lending

(Slideshow from the NY Times)

The NYTimes has an excellent feature on Wells Fargo, discriminatory lending in Memphis, and how the middle-class black community was targeted by predatory lending practices.

She described tricks of the trade, several of dubious legality. She said supervisors had told employees to white out incomes on loan applications and substitute higher numbers. Agents went “fishing” for customers, mailing live checks to leads. When a homeowner deposited the check, it became a high-interest loan, with a rate of 20 to 29 percent. Then bank agents tried to talk the customer into refinancing, using the house as collateral.

“I don’t think it’s going too far to say that banks are at the core of the disaster here,” said Phyllis G. Betts, director of the Center for Community Building and Neighborhood Action at the University of Memphis, which has closely examined bank lending records.



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