06-19-2018  3:20 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

Colorado to adopt California's stricter car pollution rules

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's governor on Tuesday ordered his state to adopt California's vehicle pollution rules, joining other states in resisting the Trump administration's plans to ease up on emission standards.Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper told state regulators begin writing rules that...

Protesters on round-the-clock vigil at Oregon ICE facility

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A small group of protesters has set up camp outside the Portland, Oregon headquarters of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protest the Trump administration's policy of separating families after illegal border crossings.About two dozen protesters gathered...

Woman shot to death in Snohomish-area home, man arrested

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say 45-year-old woman was shot to death northeast of Seattle in her Snohomish-area home and a man believed to be her husband has been arrested.The Seattle Times reports a man called 911 around 9 p.m. Monday and reported that someone had been hurt in his...

Colorado to adopt California's stricter car pollution rules

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's governor on Tuesday ordered his state to adopt California's vehicle pollution rules, joining other states in resisting the Trump administration's plans to ease up on emission standards.Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper told state regulators begin writing rules that...


Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...


Lawsuit: Chicago police falsely ID thousands as gang members

CHICAGO (AP) — Civil rights group filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that the Chicago Police Department relies on an error-plagued database that names up to 195,000 people as gang members, including many who have never been in a gang.Many people were erroneously listed in the database simply...

Bucks' Sterling Brown sues Milwaukee over stun-gun arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown sued the city of Milwaukee and its police department Tuesday, saying officers' use of a stun gun during his arrest for a parking violation constitutes excessive force and that they targeted him because he is black.Brown's attorney Mark...

Lawsuit claims Kansas official exposed private voter data

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach challenging a multi-state voter registration database it claims exposed sensitive information including partial Social Security numbers from nearly a thousand state...


CBS' '60 Minutes' gathers audience week by week

NEW YORK (AP) — The newsmagazine "60 Minutes" was not television's most popular program this year, but for the 11th consecutive season it had more people who watched at least once during the year than any other non-sports show on TV.The Nielsen company's cumulative measurement of programs...

Film Review: 'The King' is guilty of an Elvis crime- excess

It's usually a bad sign when critics start questioning your film before it's even finished. But director Eugene Jarecki had to endure worse. While making the documentary "The King," he actually got gruff from a member of his own film crew.After a car breaks down, Jarecki takes the opportunity to...

Birthplace of singer, activist Nina Simone to be preserved

TRYON, N.C. (AP) — The dilapidated wooden cottage in North Carolina that was the birthplace of singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone now has the protection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.The trust said in a news release Tuesday that it will develop and find a new use...


Lawyer: Police think slaying of XXXTentacion was random

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The lawyer for slain rapper XXXTentacion said Tuesday that detectives believe...

Trump raises risk of economically harmful US-China trade war

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China edged closer Tuesday to triggering the riskiest trade war in...

Meat 2.0? Clean meat? Spat shows the power of food wording

NEW YORK (AP) — If meat is grown in a lab without slaughtering animals, what should it be called?That...

Merkel says climate change is 'a fact,' laments US stance

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel took aim Tuesday at U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to...

Blurring the border, Turkey deepens roots in northern Syria

AL-BAB, Syria (AP) — A newly paved road links the Turkish town of Elbeyli to the Syrian town of al-Bab,...

London police say short circuit caused minor subway blast

LONDON (AP) — A battery short circuit caused a small explosion at a London Underground station that injured...

Charlene Crowell
By Charlene Crowell NNPA Columnist

The old adage, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ seems somehow an apt description for what a growing number of communities are suffering: a lack of fair lending.

In recent weeks and in varying locales, the issue of redlining has led to lawsuits that have been challenged or settlements that avoided courtroom dramas. Regardless of locale, allegations are remarkably similar: lack of access in mortgage lending coupled with a lack of convenient access to full-service banking.

On September 24, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Justice jointly ordered Hudson City Savings Bank to pay a total of $32.75 million. Of these funds, $25 million will be dedicated to subsidizing increased mortgage opportunity for Blacks and Latino neighborhoods, $5.5 million paid in penalties, and $2.25 million for outreach and community programs in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and both New York City and Staten Island.

Although the Equal Credit Opportunity Act bans businesses from discriminating against applicants in credit transactions on the basis of race, color or national origin, 94 percent of Hudson City’s branches were in areas with scant consumers of color. Further, 94.5 percent of the bank’s top 50 brokers’ offices were concentrated outside of minority communities. In Philadelphia and in Camden, none of bank’s 47 loan officers were based in Black and Latino areas.

“Hudson City Savings Bank structured its business operations to systemically avoid providing credit services in predominantly minority neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey. “There is no room for such behavior in our banking system.”

Nor is Hudson City Savings alone. Just a few days later on September 29, another Justice Department settlement noted redlining in the St. Louis area by Eagle Bank and Trust. Citing both the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a $975,000 settlement will now open two new locations in northern St. Louis among other changes.

The next day, September 30, a federal judge in Chicago denied efforts by HSBC Holdings to stop a fair housing lawsuit brought by Cook County in Illinois. On behalf of its citizens, Cook County charged that foreclosures dating to the late 2000s were the result of steering minority borrowers into high-cost loans even when their credit profiles made them eligible for cheaper loans offered to Whites.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee wrote, “These discriminatory actions increased the minority borrowers’ risk of default and foreclosure, resulting in a rash of foreclosures in the county, which in turn caused economic and noneconomic injury to the County.”

HSBC must now decide whether to appeal the denial, defend its actions in court or broker a settlement with Cook County.

In yet another case in Buffalo, NY, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman secured an $825,000 agreement with Evans Bank to end its discriminatory redlining that denied services to the largely Black East Side of the city. In this action, Evans Bank was found to use a lending map that excluded Black consumers while including neighboring communities. It also disqualified East Side mortgage applicants regardless of their creditworthiness.

The largest portion of settlement funds – $475,000 – will be used to create a Housing Opportunity Fund to support development and restoration of affordable housing. Remaining monies will be dedicated to marketing and advertising to communities of color ($200,000), a special financing program to increase lending activity in underserved areas ($100,000), and payment of fees and costs to the state ($50,000).

In recent months, even more similar legal actions have been filed; but the pattern should be clear: communities of color often lack access to mortgages and/or fair credit. Artificially raising the cost of the single largest investment most consumers make is just as harmful as the failure to approve mortgages to creditworthy borrowers.

The moral to this continuing saga is that once laws have been passed to correct discriminatory lending, vigorous enforcement will make those laws real for consumers and lenders alike.

“Without access to affordable credit, neighborhoods deteriorate in the long shadow cast by unfair lending,” said Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

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