HARRISBURG, Pa., May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and U.S. Department of Justice have notified more than 1,000 Philadelphia borrowers who qualify to receive a portion of $3.2 million from a predatory lending settlement with Wells Fargo.
This is part of a multi-state, $175 million settlement with Wells Fargo announced in December of 2012. The $3.2 million designated for Philadelphia victims was increased from an earlier figure of $2 million.
African-Americans and Hispanics who lived in Philadelphia and took out home loans with Wells Fargo from 2004 through 2009, will receive notices of the amount they will receive if they choose to participate in the settlement. Notices were mailed to qualified borrowers over a two-week period beginning April 25.
"Housing discrimination is simply not tolerated in Pennsylvania," JoAnn Edwards, the commission's executive director said. "We hope this settlement sends a clear message that home loans must be based on financial qualifications, not on race, national origin or any other protected factor."
A commission investigation starting in 2010 explored allegations that Wells Fargo discriminated by steering African-American and Hispanic borrowers into subprime mortgages, while white, non-Hispanic borrowers with similar credit histories were given prime mortgages.
All of the borrowers who were allegedly discriminated against qualified for prime mortgages under Wells Fargo's underwriting criteria.
The complaint also alleged that Wells Fargo discriminated based on race and national origin in charging higher broker rates and fees to African-American and Hispanic wholesale borrowers, than to similarly qualified white borrowers.
Wells Fargo denied the charges. The Department of Justice settlement resolved the Pennsylvania complaint and similar complaints in other states.
In the coming months, the commission will contact every qualified borrower by phone to ensure that they received proper notice.
More information, including copies of the notice in English and Spanish, can be found at www.phrc.state.pa.us.
If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination, call our toll-free PA Fair Housing Hotline, 855-866-5718.
Media contact: Shannon Powers, 717-783-8266
SOURCE Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission