MN-based US Bank settles discrimination complaint

4:30 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Wednesday that U.S. Bank National Association will pay $12,000 to a disabled Minnesota man after he filed a complaint about a mortgage he applied for.

HUD found the Bloomington-based lender required the man to prove he would continue receiving disability income for three years before it would approve his mortgage loan.

A spokesperson for U.S. Bank says the company denies discriminating but agreed to settle the complaint.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in the terms and conditions of a loan based on a person's disability, including by imposing different loan application or qualification criteria.

"Holding persons with disabilities to a different standard because they rely on disability-related income violates the Fair Housing Act," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Reasonable income standards are a necessary part of the underwriting process but HUD will continue to take action when these practices are discriminatory."

Wednesday's announcement came after the Roseville man filed a complaint with HUD alleging U.S. Bank asked him to provide proof that his disability income, including Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI), would continue for three years. The applicant submitted documentation from the Social Security Administration as part of his mortgage application.

HUD says additional documentation was not needed because Social Security award letters without expiration dates establish continuity of income for three years.

Under the terms of the conciliation agreement U.S. Bank agreed to pay the man $12,000, accept SSI award letters in the future as establishing at least three years' income, and refrain from requiring applicants receiving disability income to provide doctors' statements concerning the nature, severity, or duration of a disability.

In a witten statement, the spokesperson said "U.S. Bank has long followed the underwriting guidelines established by HUD and maintains a high standard for providing quality service to its mortgage customers."

 

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