The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York has filed a civil rights lawsuit against GFI Mortgage Bankers, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
The complaint states that the New York-based GFI engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin in making hundreds of loans from 2005 through 2009, when the lender allegedly charged higher loan prices, interest rates and fees to African-American and Hispanic borrowers than it charged to similarly situated white borrowers.
The complaint seeks a declaration that GFI's practices were illegal, an injunction against further discrimination, compensatory damages to benefit the victims of GFI's discrimination, and civil penalties.
‘As the lawsuit we filed today alleges, discrimination still exists in certain quarters, and it has profound consequences for the victims,’ says U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. ‘At a time when so many American homeowners of all races and nationalities are struggling to make their mortgage payments, it is unacceptable that, as we allege, the impact of GFI Mortgage's business practices resulted in its African-American and Hispanic customers paying higher fees and interest rates for their residential mortgages. As today's suit demonstrates, this type of discriminatory action will not be tolerated.’