Wells Fargo has announced an out-of-court agreement of a case involving alleged Fair Housing Act violations in Tennessee.
The Memphis municipal government and the county government for Shelby County filed a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo on Dec. 30, 2011, claiming the lender violated the Fair Housing Act by targeting minority communities for predatory practices that have resulted in a disproportionate and unnecessary number of foreclosures in Memphis and Shelby County. Wells Fargo has denied the allegations, citing its ‘long-standing commitment to fair and responsible lending practices.’
In a statement issued by the lender, Wells Fargo says that it is ‘investing $7.5 million in Memphis and Shelby County.’ As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo is providing $4.5 million in mortgage down payment and home renovation assistance.
Wells Fargo also has set a five-year mortgage lending goal of $425 million for the city and county, which includes $125 million in home purchase lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers, and it plans to inaugurate a ‘large-scale homeownership event’ in Memphis later this year that will provide grants worth up to $15,000 to qualified borrowers.
Furthermore, Wells Fargo says that it is contributing an additional $3 million to ‘advance local initiatives and programs related to improving economic vitality, preserving public safety and increasing financial literacy.’
‘We agreed that it was in the best interests of everyone involved to work together rather than to continue to be involved in a protracted legal fight,’ says Leigh Collier, Wells Fargo regional president for the Mid-South, which includes Memphis. ‘The investment we're announcing in Memphis and Shelby County today continues our ongoing commitment to helping communities succeed across the country.’