Discrimination With A Smile: BofA Settles Unfair Lending Claims For $335 Million

Source: Chris Isidore / CNN Money

NEW YORK – The Justice Department announced a $335 million settlement with Bank of America Wednesday over discriminatory lending practice at Countrywide Financial.

Attorney General Eric Holder said a federal probe found discrimination against at least 200,000 qualified African American and Hispanic borrowers from 2004 to 2008, during the height of the housing market boom. He said that minority borrowers who qualified for prime loans were steered into higher-interest-rate subprime loans.

Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for Justice’s civil rights division, said most of the victims of the discrimination were not aware that they were improperly steered to the riskier mortgages.

“They were thrilled to have gotten the loan and to have realized the American dream,” Perez said. “They had no idea they could have and should have gotten a better deal. This is discrimination with a smile.”

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