12-04-2016  4:22 am      •     

Gov. Chris Gregoire last week disclosed fines of $1 million against Countrywide Home Loans for discriminatory lending.
Countrywide must also pay more than $5 million in back assessments it owes the state.
The governor said she is seeking to revoke Countrywide's license to do business in Washington for its alleged illegal activity.
"The allegation that Countrywide preyed on minority borrowers is extremely troubling to me," Gregoire said. "And I hope to learn eventually just how much this may have contributed to foreclosures in our state."
Joining Gregoire at a press conference was Deb Bortner, director of consumer services at the Washington state Department of Financial Institutions and James Kelly, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.
"The Urban League is seeing far too many families caught up in the mortgage crisis who are being steered into bad loans," Kelly said. "Today's announcement from the governor is consistent with her message of protecting Washingtonians from national mortgage instability."
"That's why we intend to bring the full weight of the state on Countrywide to rewrite home loans for minority borrowers who may have been misled into signing predatory mortgages," Gregoire said. "The allegation offers evidence that Countrywide engaged in a pattern to target minority groups and engage in predatory practices."
The financial institutions department is required to examine every home-lender licensed in the state of Washington.
The agency conducted its fair lending examination of Countrywide last year, analyzing roughly 600 individual loan files. Officials say they uncovered evidence that Countrywide engaged in discriminatory lending that targeted Washington's minority communities. The agency also found significant underreporting of loans during its investigation.
DFI sent Countrywide a statement of charges on June 23, notifying the company of the fine and the back assessments the state plans to pursue. The investigation continues.

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