May 01, 2017

Brown Statement on Supreme Court Ruling Miami's Predatory Lending Case Against Wells Fargo, Bank of America

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee – issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling today that cities can bring lawsuits against banks for alleged discriminatory mortgage lending practices under the Fair Housing Act.

In its 5-3 decision, the court ruled that the city of Miami has standing to sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America over claims alleging the banks’ lending practices discriminated against minority borrowers. Miami claimed the banks offered predatory loans to minority consumers and then refused to extend refinancing terms equal to those issued to white borrowers, leading to higher default rates among minority borrowers and financial harm to the city of Miami. The court also ruled that Miami in future proceedings will need to establish that the banks caused direct harm to the city.

 "Today, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of cities to protect vulnerable residents against predatory mortgage loans that violate consumers’ civil rights and harm our communities," said Brown. "The Fair Housing Act is essential in the ongoing fight to end widespread housing discrimination and I will keep pushing to ensure the law is enforced to its full extent."

In October, Brown and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) led a group of 18 senators in joining an amicus brief in the Supreme Court asserting that, under the Fair Housing Act, Miami has standing to sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America for their predatory lending practices. The Fair Housing Act, signed into law in 1968, bars discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability in housing sales, rentals, and financing.