WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development charged Bank of America Corp. on Monday with discriminating against three disabled borrowers in Michigan and Wisconsin.
The nation's biggest bank is accused of violating the federal Fair Housing Act in 2009 and 2010. The act prohibits lenders from discriminating against disabled borrowers, among other provisions,
Bank of America imposed "unnecessary and burdensome requirements" on borrowers who relied on disability income to qualify for their home loans, the government said. The bank also required some disabled borrowers to provide statements from their doctors to get loans, according to the government.
The cases involved individuals living in Oscoda and Lapeer, Mich., and Eau Claire, Wis.,
In a statement, Bank of America said it followed different but tougher Federal Housing Administration guidelines in all three cases and blamed "inconsistencies" in different laws regulating housing discrimination.
"There is no basis to allege that Bank of America has engaged in a systemic practice of discriminating on the basis of disability in connection with mortgage lending," the statement said.
The Justice Department is also reviewing the case.
HUD can impose sanctions of up to $65,000, but in cases brought by the Justice Department, civil penalties up to $100,000 may be imposed.