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2020-07-15 — propublica.org

Since President Donald Trump took office, the OCC has quietly shelved at least six investigations of discrimination and redlining, according to internal agency documents and eight people familiar with the cases. Flagstar Bank, a leading lender in Michigan, wrongly charged Black homeowners more through a network of mortgage lending affiliates, OCC officials concluded in 2017. That same year, agency examiners found that Colorado Federal Bank, an online lender, was doing the same to female borrowers.

Another inquiry by OCC officials concluded that Chicago-based MB Financial, a lender acquired by Fifth Third Bank last year, charged Latinos too much on mortgage loans. Cadence Bank, a lender in several Southern states, was turning away minority borrowers in Houston, according to an OCC investigation. Fulton Bank, a lender based in Pennsylvania, had been discriminating against minorities in parts of Richmond, Virginia, and its home state, regulators concluded.

In each case, despite staff recommendations that fines or other penalties be imposed, the OCC took no public action and closed the investigations quietly. In the past, banks have had to pay substantial sums after similar investigations. In 2012, in the wake of the housing crisis, Wells Fargo paid $175 million to resolve allegations that it charged Blacks and Hispanics more to buy a home after an investigation that began with the OCC years earlier.

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