Michigan mortgage lender ends federal investigation into discrimination claims

May 5, 2011

A major home mortgage lender has reached a deal to end a federal investigation into alleged racial discrimination. The settlement will mean millions of dollars for housing programs in Wayne County.  

Citizens Bank is the largest bank holding company headquartered in Michigan and one of the 50 largest in the country. 

Tom Perez is Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department.  He says Citizens engaged in redlining, the practice of denying credit applicants based on race.  

“The pattern had really been taking place for upwards of 15 years, both before and after (Citizens Bank) purchased Republic Bank.”   

Perez says, partly because of Citizens Bank’s actions, many Detroiters fell victim to predatory lenders. 

Citizens has agreed to open a new loan office in an African-American neighborhood in Detroit and the company is giving more than $3 million to housing programs in Wayne County.  

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says there are 60 similar mortgage discrimination investigations underway across the nation.