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City Of Miami Sues Banks For Alleged Predatory Lending

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(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The City of Miami has sued three major banks for what it calls predatory lending in poor neighborhoods.

According to our news partners The Miami Herald, the lawsuits against Bank of America, CitiGroup, and Wells Fargo were filed last week.

The lawsuits claim the banks violated the Federal Fair Housing Act by routinely issuing loans to minority residents in Miami under different terms and conditions  than those for white borrowers since at least 2004.

The city claims the practices have hurt the city’s coffers because of foreclosures and a drop in property tax revenues, according to the Miami Herald.

“The goal here is to punish the banks for their practices and to recover for the city and its citizens a portion of as much of the damages as is possible to recover,” City Commissioner Francis Suarez told the Miami Herald.

Suarez had sponsored an ordinance earlier this year to pursue legal remedies against the banks.

All three banks defended their lending practices in written statements.

Wells Fargo called the allegations “unfounded” and said they,”don’t reflect our corporate values.”

CitiGroup said their application process is “blind to race, ethnicity, gender and any other prohibited basis. “

Bank of America indicated that in times of financial hardships,  they “responded urgently with the solutions to assist them.”

The suits were filed by a group of attorneys who sued the same banks on behalf of the City of Los Angeles earlier this month.

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