Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Texas Champion Bank to Resolve Allegations of Lending Discrimination
Settlement Provides $700,000 in Compensation to Hispanic Borrowers of Unsecured Consumer Loans in Texas
The Justice Department announced today that Texas Champion Bank of Alice, Texas, will establish uniform pricing policies, conduct employee training and pay $700,000 as part of a settlement to resolve allegations that it engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of national origin.
The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed in conjunction with the Justice Department’s complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The complaint alleges that Texas Champion charged higher prices on unsecured consumer loans made to His panic borrowers through its branch offices in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).
“The complaint filed today demonstrates that the Civil Rights Division is committed to fair lending enforcement across the entire spectrum of credit markets,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We commend Texas Champion for working cooperatively with the Justice Department in reaching an appropriate resolution of this case.”
The lawsuit originated from a 2010 referral by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Texas Champion is a member of the FDIC.
Under the settlement, Texas Champion will pay $700,000 to approximately 2,000 Hispanic victims of discrimination, monitor its loans for potential disparities based on national origin, and provide equal credit opportunity training to its employees. Texas Champion will also revise its pricing policies to ensure that the price charged for its loans is set in a non-discriminatory manner consistent with the requirements of ECOA. The agreement also prohibits the bank from discriminating on the basis of national origin in any aspect of a credit transaction.
“The Southern District of Texas is committed to ensuring banks and other lending institutions do not discriminate against borrowers on the basis of race or national origin,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Kenneth Magidson. “The consent order filed today should serve as a reminder that discrimination in lending will not be tolerated.”
The Justice Department’s enforcement of fair lending laws is conducted by the Fair Lending Unit of the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section in the Civil Right Division. Since the Fair Lending Unit was established in February 2010, it has filed or resolved 24 lending matters under the Fair Housing Act, ECOA, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The settlements in these matters provide for a minimum of $660 million in monetary relief for impacted communities and more than 300,000 individual borrowers. The Attorney General’s annual reports to Congress subject to ECOA highlight the department’s accomplishments in fair lending and are available at http://www.justice.gov/crt/publications .
The Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, and the FDIC are members of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov .
A copy of the complaint, as well as additional information about fair lending enforcement by the Justice Department, can be obtained from the Justice Department’s website at www.justice.gov/fairhousing .