Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
     Plaintiff,

v.

Case No. 97-CV-1206

ALBANK, FSB, and
ALBANK FINANCIAL CORPORATION,
     Defendants.

_______________________________

CONSENT DECREE
  1. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

    The United States has entered into this Consent Decree with defendants ALBANK, FSB and its parent corporation ALBANK Financial Corporation (collectively, "Albank" or "the lender"), simultaneously with the United States' filing of its Complaint alleging that Albank has violated the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1691-1691f) ("ECOA").

    Albank is a federally chartered savings bank with $3.5 billion in assets headquartered in Albany, New York. Albank makes slightly more than half of its home mortgage loans through "correspondents" -- mortgage bankers or brokers.(1) It has made mortgage loans in Connecticut and in Westchester County, New York, since the late 1980's, entirely through correspondents.

    The United States' Complaint alleges that Albank gave its correspondents oral and written instructions that Albank would not fund loans from Westchester County below Interstate 287 and certain cities and other areas in the State of Connecticut, each of which areas contains communities that are identifiable as African American or Hispanic.(2)

    In Connecticut, Albank explicitly stated that it would not fund loans secured by residential properties located within the five cities of Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, New Britain, and Waterbury. In three of these cities, African Americans and Hispanics approach or exceed a majority of the population (Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport); in two of these cities, African Americans and Hispanics constitute approximately 25 percent of the population (New Britain and Waterbury). Albank also would not fund loans secured by residential properties located in the corridor along Interstate 95 and Long Island Sound. This area includes the cities of Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut, where African Americans and Hispanics constitute approximately 25 percent of the population. In Westchester County, New York, Albank excluded the part of the county south of Interstate 287, where more than 75 percent of the county's African American residents live and where more than 66 percent of the county's Hispanic residents live. When Albank made exceptions to these policies in Westchester County or Connecticut, it did so predominately for white borrowers.

    The United States contends that the defendants' refusal to fund loans secured by residential properties in the identifiably African American and Hispanic geographic areas has no sound business justification, and, in fact, departs from what the United States contends are accepted mortgage banking and loan purchase practices regarding the location and type of residential properties that may secure residential mortgage loans. For example, the restrictions established non-contiguous enclaves within the geographic area where the bank otherwise funded loans, and persons residing within such enclaves were not eligible to obtain Albank residential mortgage loans, without regard to their qualifications for credit or the values of their homes. The United States contends that the redlining policies, and the exceptions to those policies, were implemented with the purpose of discriminating on the basis of race and national origin in the extension of residential mortgage financing.

    Albank denies that any act or omission on its part as alleged in the government's complaint or this Consent Decree as violative of federal law was motivated or influenced in any manner by discriminatory intent or considerations of race or national origin of any kind, including, but not limited to, racial or ethnic bias. Albank has agreed to the undertakings set forth in this Consent Decree to settle the government's claims against it and because it believes the affirmative mortgage activities and practices described will assist in better serving all members of the communities where it funds mortgages through its correspondents and because it believes that such actions and practices are consistent with Albank's practices in the areas in which it has a physical presence and is actually located.

    There has been no factual finding or adjudication with respect to any matter alleged in the Complaint. The parties enter into this Consent Decree to resolve voluntarily the claims raised in this suit in order to avoid litigation, and agree that the terms of this Decree provide a reasonable means of addressing the concerns of the United States and Albank. The entry of this Consent Decree is not and is not to be considered an admission or finding of any violation of law by Albank.

    Through this Consent Decree, Albank states its commitment to make its business decisions without regard to race, color, or national origin and to serve all communities in the areas in which it does business, regardless of the race, color, or national origin of those residential areas' residents. To provide increased access to credit opportunities for individuals in the previously excluded areas, Albank has devised a remedial special mortgage lending program which includes homebuyer counseling and marketing tailored to the communities that previously were excluded. Albank also will implement a program to underwrite approximately $55 million in residential mortgage financing in the previously excluded communities and to offer such financing at interest rates below the market. Albank has also initiated a bank-wide Fair Lending Action Plan that is incorporated in this Decree. The United States agrees that Albank's subsidy for the special lending program, which approximates $8.2 million, together with Albank's plan for providing its mortgage loan products to the previously excluded communities, constitutes an appropriate remedy for the violation alleged in the complaint.

    Now, therefore, on the basis of the foregoing representations of the United States and Albank, it is hereby

    ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED, as follows:

  2. GENERAL INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
    1. Albank and all officials, employees, agents and successors thereof, including such newly formed affiliated entities as ALBANK Commercial, are permanently enjoined from engaging in any act or practice that discriminates on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any aspect of residential real estate-related transactions, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, and in any aspect of credit transactions, in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1691-1691f. This injunction includes, but is not limited to, any use of race, color, or national origin in defining a market area and determining geographic areas from which Albank will accept loan applications.
    2. Albank shall permanently remove all geographic limitations on the scope of its mortgage lending activities in Connecticut and in Westchester County. In expanding its lending business into new territories, Albank shall select and define its markets in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
  3. SPECIAL MORTGAGE LENDING PROGRAM FOR PREVIOUSLY EXCLUDED AREAS
    1. To provide increased access to credit opportunities for individuals in the previously excluded areas, Albank will implement a special mortgage lending program which includes outreach to the excluded minority areas, homebuyer education and counseling services, and a commitment of $55 million of below-market loans in these areas.(3)
    2. To implement the special mortgage lending program, Albank will institute a targeted marketing program in designated census tracts of the cities of Hartford, New Britain, Stamford, Norwalk, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Waterbury in Connecticut and in southern Westchester County, New York.
    3. The targeted marketing program in the designated Census tracts will include the following:
      1. Albank will advertise the availability of its residential mortgage loan products, through mortgage bankers and brokers and directly, in media directed to members of minority communities in the designated census tracts. Advertisement in these media will note the availability of the discounted mortgage loan product and the method of accessing the product, i.e., through mortgage broker and mortgage banker correspondents. Albank will create a brochure describing the special mortgage lending program to be distributed primarily through mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, real estate agents, community groups, and churches; and Albank will utilize direct mail to target borrowers in the designated census tracts.
      2. Albank will contact community housing, neighborhood preservation and community development organizations to build awareness of, and support for, the special lending program. Albank will work through the applicable real estate brokers and agents to disseminate information about the special mortgage lending program. This will include direct mail to real estate brokers and agents serving the targeted communities, offers by Albank mortgage personnel to speak at organization events and print ads in the organization newsletter. An Albank mortgage loan officer also will personally visit each correspondent mortgage broker and mortgage banker serving the designated census tracts to explain and promote the discount mortgage loan program.
    4. Albank will implement a homebuyer education and counseling program designed to assist residents of the listed Census tracts in obtaining mortgage loans. As described below, Albank has agreed to contribute $350,000 for homebuyer counseling to assist prospective loan applicants in the targeted Census tracts in Connecticut and Westchester County, and to expend internally, principally in the form of services, at least an additional $350,000 in implementing the lender's own homebuyer education programs in these designated areas.
    5. Albank's own homebuyer education program shall consist of sponsoring, on its own, or with its correspondents or community organizations, as it deems appropriate, "Homebuyers Seminars", on a semi-annual basis during the five-year period covered by the Consent Decree, in each of the following areas: Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Waterbury, Stamford and Norwalk, in Connecticut; and Yonkers, Mt. Vernon and New Rochelle, in Westchester County, New York. These seminars will include presentations by attorneys, real estate agents, consumer debt counselors and property inspectors, and include such topics as buying versus renting, how to determine how much home a buyer can afford, qualifying for a home mortgage loan, the credit approval process, and working with a real estate agent or a "buyer's broker".
    6. Albank will also provide longer term, more in-depth educational services to potential homebuyers in designated census tracts through organizations providing homebuyer education and assistance, debt counseling and/or similar services in a comprehensive, individualized, and situation specific manner. Within 90 days of the entry of this Consent Decree, Albank will submit to the United States for approval, a list of organizations proposed to provide the education and counseling services and a description of the programs to be provided.
    7. Over the next five years Albank shall make at least $55 million in loans in designated Census tracts (see Attachments A-C) within the previously excluded areas in Connecticut and Westchester County. These loans shall have an interest rate 1.5 percentage points below the interest rate the lender would otherwise charge. Such loans shall be available to any qualified borrower seeking to obtain a mortgage loan (including purchase money or refinancing loans) up to $214,600 in value, to be secured by a home located in a designated Census tract. Loans made by any subsidiary of Albank in accordance with the parameters of the special mortgage lending program will also count toward the $55 million goal. All loans will be underwritten consistent with the safety and soundness of the lender.
    8. Albank shall make at least $20 million in below-market loans as described above on properties located in majority minority Census tracts south of Interstate 287 in Westchester County, New York (see Attachment A). These loans shall be made within 26 months of the date this Decree is entered. Albank shall use its best efforts to make at least $10 million of such loans within the first 14 months and $10 million within the next 12 months.(4)
    9. Albank shall make at least $35 million in below-market loans as described above, on properties located in Census tracts within the cities of Hartford, New Haven, New Britain, Waterbury, Bridgeport, Stamford, and Norwalk, and which are located in 25% or greater non-white Census tracts. (See Attachments B-C). These loans shall be made within five years of the date this Decree is entered. Albank shall use its best efforts to make at least $7 million of such loans in each of the five years. Further, at least 40% of the $35 million in loans shall be made in listed Census tracts within the cities of Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven (Attachment C.)
    10. The total value of Albank's below-market loan program under this Decree represents (over the average life of these loans) a cost to Albank of $3.3 million for Westchester County and $4.9 million for Connecticut. If, at the end of the relevant time period (26 months for Westchester County, five years for Connecticut), Albank has not made the requisite amount of below-market loans ($20 million in Westchester County, $35 million in Connecticut) in the designated census tracts, it shall make a contribution, in an amount equal to the remaining balance of the total value of the program as calculated above, to community organizations dedicated to the improvement of housing or home ownership in the relevant area.(5) If a contribution is required by this paragraph, Albank shall make a proposal, within 60 days after the expiration of the relevant time period as described above, to the United States for approval. This proposal shall identify the dollar amount of the contribution, the organizations selected, the projected use of the funds, and the fund disbursement schedule.
    11. Albank will retain discretion to implement additional actions that it believes appropriate to achieve the remedial goal, without prior approval of the United States or this Court except as otherwise provided in this Order.
  4. ALBANK'S FAIR LENDING ACTION PLAN
    1. Albank is committed to fair lending throughout its institution as demonstrated by its Fair Lending Action Plan. In conjunction with the fair lending and community reinvestment programs already undertaken by Albank as described in Attachment D, Albank will implement the Fair Lending Action Plan that its Board of Directors approved and proposed to the Office of Thrift Supervision in early 1997. The Fair Lending Action Plan includes the following components:
    2. Albank will appoint one or more fair lending officers and create a fair lending committee and appropriate subcommittees to oversee all efforts regarding the implementation of the Fair Lending Action Plan, development of a fair lending policy statement, training, demographic research, and affirmative marketing.
    3. The fair lending committee will review all lending-related policies and procedures to ensure that the bank's policies do not have the purpose or effect of discriminating against particular racial or ethnic groups and also that all standards and practices are supported by legitimate business needs. Within 45 days of the entry of this Decree, Albank will adopt a fair lending policy statement and submit it for approval by counsel for the United States. The statement shall be distributed to all employees whose responsibilities include contacts with customers or correspondents, within 30 days of the United States' approval of the statement.
    4. Albank will conduct demographic research to identify the credit needs of all the communities in the previously excluded areas and determine the mortgage loan product or programs that will best meet the needs of each area. Albank will also develop marketing strategies designed to ensure its products are available to all segments of the markets it serves and monitor the effectiveness of these strategies. These strategies will include the following: advertising in media directed to members of racial and ethnic minority communities; including equal housing opportunity logotypes, statements, or slogans in its advertisements that are consistent with the standards specified in 12 C.F.R. 338.1-338.4; ensuring that the use of human models in advertisements will reasonably represent all races residing in areas where Albank's loans are marketed; identifying mortgage bankers and brokers that serve racial and ethnic minority communities; and contacting real estate brokers and agents, community groups, neighborhood preservation groups, and community development organizations that serve racial and ethnic minority communities.
    5. Albank's training subcommittee and the corporate training and development department have begun implementing a fair lending training program. Within 90 days from the entry of this Decree, Albank will fully implement this program by training all personnel whose assigned duties include contacting customers or correspondents, as well as all personnel responsible for making underwriting decisions and determining the regions where Albank will market its products. The program will include training of new employees and officers to develop their understanding of fair lending laws and regulations before providing services on Albank's behalf. This training will include specific components designed according to a staff member's level of need and involvement in the lending process. However, each individual who participates in the training will receive, at a minimum, the following: Albank's fair lending policy statement; a copy of this Consent Decree; instruction regarding the obligations of Albank and its employees pursuant to this Decree; and instruction regarding all applicable federal laws, including the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Community Reinvestment Act. In addition, Albank's training program will establish a standard and consistent manner in which to treat all customers; educate employees to respond to the needs of customers in racially and ethnically diverse markets; and counsel employees as to the potential individual and bank penalties for discriminatory behavior or violations of this Decree, including Albank's disciplinary policy for violations of fair lending laws and regulations.
    6. Within 60 days of the entry of this order, Albank shall implement procedures to monitor and assess the progress of the Fair Lending Action Plan, including requiring regular written reports to the fair lending committee.
  5. NOTIFICATION AND EDUCATION OF CORRESPONDENTS
    1. Within 30 days of the entry of this Decree, Albank shall inform the mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers with whom it does business of Albank's commitment to fair lending. All of Albank's contracts with its correspondents will be amended to reference the parties' respective obligations under fair lending laws as well as to reiterate Albank's commitment to fair lending practices and its expectation of a similar commitment from the correspondents. To further ensure that Albank's correspondents are aware of Albank policies, Albank's fair lending policy statement shall be provided to them in writing prior to entering a business relationship. Existing correspondents shall also be provided with a copy of this policy statement. Albank will make available to its correspondents Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data regarding their own lending activity in order to assist such entities with their own self-assessment.
    2. Albank will make fair lending training and informational materials, obtained from organizations such as the Mortgage Bankers Association, available to its correspondents and encourage them to utilize these materials. These will consist of items such as manuals, videos, regulatory information and similar materials.
    3. All existing correspondents in Connecticut and Westchester County, New York, have been informed that no geographic restrictions are in effect. Albank mortgage origination staff will utilize their best efforts to meet on a quarterly basis with mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers providing loans in the designated census tracts. Albank staff will utilize these meetings to reiterate Albank's commitment to fair lending, to provide appropriate training and information on the special lending program and to assess existing efforts to implement the program and meet the program goals.
  6. RECORDKEEPING AND REPORTING
    1. During the term of this Consent Decree and for two years thereafter, Albank shall retain all records relating to its obligations or compliance with this Decree, including its lending in the affected areas, notice to employees and correspondents, marketing and advertising, and training. This includes itemized accounts of all expenditures made pursuant to this Decree, including, but not limited to, the $700,000 required to be expended for the homeownership counseling programs. The United States shall have the right to review and copy such records upon request.
    2. Albank shall provide the United States annually for the duration of the Consent Decree, on magnetic tape in standard EBCDIC format, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data provided by it to the OTS within 30 days of providing such data to the OTS. The data provided to the United States shall be augmented to add the following information to the database: a) whether a loan was made directly by Albank or through a correspondent; b) if through a correspondent, which correspondent; c) the interest rate for each loan; and d) whether a loan was made pursuant to the special lending program loan described above.
    3. Albank shall submit annual reports to the United States, during the life of the Decree, with an information copy to OTS, detailing its progress in complying with the Decree's terms. The annual reports shall cover the 12 month periods starting from the entry of the Decree, and shall be submitted within 30 days of the close of the applicable reporting period. The reports shall take the form of a paragraph-by-paragraph summation of Albank's efforts in complying with each requirement of the Decree and an assessment of the extent to which the requirement was met.
    4. All notices, correspondence, reports or documents required to be provided under this Consent Decree will be mailed to the following addresses:

      Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
      U.S. Department of Justice
      P.O. Box 65998
      Washington, DC 20530-5998
      (202) 514-4713
      FAX: (202) 514-1116

      Freling H. Smith
      Senior Vice President and General Counsel
      ALBANK, FSB
      10 North Pearl Street
      Albany, NY 12207
      (518) 445-2077
      FAX: (518) 445-2140

  7. ADMINISTRATION OF CONSENT DECREE
    1. The Court shall retain jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcing the terms of the Decree for a period of six years from the date this Consent Decree is entered by the Court, or until the final disbursement of funds pursuant to paragraph III.10, whichever is later. The Consent Decree shall be binding on Albank and any of their employees, agents, representatives, officers, heirs, assigns, subsidiaries, or successors in interest. All provisions of this Decree except Section III shall apply to every geographic region where Albank does business, directly or through correspondents.
    2. The parties to this Consent Decree shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Consent Decree prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. This Consent Decree may be modified by written agreement of Albank and the United States Department of Justice. Any such modification must promptly be submitted to the Court for approval, and shall be deemed effective immediately upon execution by the parties until such time, if any, that the Court indicates a lack of such approval.
    3. At any time prior to sixty (60) days after counsel for the United States receives Albank's final report submitted pursuant to Section VI, the United States may file a motion with the Court for an extension of this Decree. If no such motion is filed or if the United States files such motion but fails to demonstrate why the Decree should be extended, the Decree shall terminate and the case shall be dismissed with prejudice.
    4. Each party to this litigation will bear its own costs.

It is so ORDERED this ___ day of _________, 1997.

_____________________________
United States District Judge

JANET RENO
ATTORNEY GENERAL

ISABELLE KATZ PINZLER
ACTING ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Acting Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

ALEXANDER C. ROSS
VALERIE R. O'BRIAN
STEVEN J. MULROY
ANTHONY H. GRUMBACH
Attorneys, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
(202) 514-9821

FRELING H. SMITH
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
ALBANK, FSB
10 North Pearl Street
Albany, NY 12207
(518) 445-2077
Bar #501056


ATTACHMENT A

1.01      1.03      1.04      2.01      3      4.01      4.02      5      7.02      10      11.01      12      13.03      18      26      27      28      29      30      31      32      33      34      35      40      41      63      64      65      92      93      109.02      109.03      110

ATTACHMENT B
Targeted Census Tracts in Connecticut
City of New Britain
4159      4161      4162      4165      4166      4167      4171
City of Norwalk
432      434      437      438      440      441      442      444      445
City of Stamford
201      213      214      215      216      217      218      220      221      222      223
City of Waterbury
3501      3502      3503      3504      3505      3506      3507      3508      3511      3512      3514      3517      3522      3524

ATTACHMENT C
Targeted Census Tracts in Connecticut
City of Bridgeport
702      703      704      705      706      707      708      709      710      711      712      713      714      715      716      717      718      719      720      724      727      728      729      732      733      734      735      736      737      738      739      740      741      742      743      744
City of Hartford
5001      5002      5003      5004      5005      5006      5007      5008      5009      5010      5011      5012      5013      5014      5015      5016      5017      5018      5019      5020      5021      5022      5024      5025      5027      5028      5029      5030      5031      5032      5033      5034      5035      5036      5037      5038      5039      5040      5041      5042      5043      5044      5045      5046      5047      5049
City of New Haven
1401      1402      1403      1404      1405      1406      1407      1408      1409      1412      1413      1414      1415      1416      1417      1418      1421      1423      1424      1425

ATTACHMENT D

Albank has voluntarily been involved in a variety of efforts geared to fair lending performance, most of which predate the United States' investigation, which began in May of 1997.

Over the past few years Albank has continuously both developed and participated in programs designed to meet the credit needs of all segments of the community, including minority neighborhoods and areas, which are located in and are a part of Albank's Community Reinvestment Act ("CRA") Assessment Area. Albank received "outstanding" ratings in each of its last three biannual CRA examinations.

Since 1994 Albank has offered a proprietary affordable housing program, Albank Community Home Investment Program (CHIP). This program is designed for first time homebuyers whose household income is 80% or less of the median income for the county where the mortgaged property is located.

Since 1987, Albank has been an active participant in the Affordable Housing Partnership and its funding arm, the Capital Affordable Housing Corporation, both of which serve the Capital Region of New York State. The Partnership offers mortgage loans to low-and moderate-income homebuyers and to affordable housing projects that cannot qualify for conventional financing. Albank provides both below market rate loan funds and serves as the servicing agent for the loans. Albank personnel have also served on the boards of directors, and as officers, of these groups.

Since March of 1994 Albank has been a participant in the Utica Housing Partnership, a public/private partnership to provide affordable permanent financing for dwellings in the city of Utica which the city constructs or rehabilitates in certain targeted areas. Albank provides contributions to the group's operating expenses as well as making loan funds available. Available loans require low down payments and no private mortgage insurance. Albank has participated in mortgage loan programs through a variety of community agencies and governmental entities including: Inter-Faith Homes Inc.; Better Albany Living; Capital Hill Improvement Corporation; Rockland County Rehabilitation and Grant Program; Beacon Community Development Agency; Kingston Council; Newburgh Community Development Department; and the City of Oneida's Block Grant Program.

Albank has participated in a variety of other programs including: the City of Albany's Capital City Housing Development Fund, Inc., which has consistently had Albank personnel on its board of directors and which has received assistance for its affordable housing development activities, as well as funds for permanent financing for scattered site housing; the Capitol District Community Loan Fund, to which Albank has been both an equity contributor and a lender; the Albany Community Land Trust, a group for which Albank served as a conduit for two Federal Home Loan Bank grants; the Albany Development Corporation, for which Albank similarly served as a conduit for Federal Home Loan Bank funds; the New York Business Development Corp., which received funds for a line of credit to be used for loans to small businesses; the Orange County Minority and Women Business Revolving Loan Fund, to which Albank and other Orange County lenders each committed $30,000; the Mid-Hudson Small Business Loan Fund, to which Albank committed funds to guarantee a portion of each loan made by the fund; the Madison County First Time Home Ownership Assistance Program; the Saratoga County Economic Development Fund; the Community Commercial Assistance MicroLoans Fund in Johnstown, New York; the Rensselaer County Business Assistance Fund; and the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce Loan Fund.

Albank granted the first mortgages for rehabilitation of older properties in Arbor Hill, an African-American community in Albany, NY. Albank also financed the first low/moderate income housing project in Albany, with low down payment mortgages through the FHA Sections 221(d) and 235 programs.

In 1995, Highwick Financial Corporation was retained to assist in the expansion of Albank's participation in the U.S. Small Business Administration guaranteed loan program. Also in 1995, Albank restructured its Commercial Loan Department into a

"Commercial Loan Group" and a separate "Community Lending Group". The members of the latter have particular expertise in community lending needs.

In general, Albank advertises over its entire CRA Assessment Area without regard to community racial or ethnic composition in terms of geographic focus. However, some advertising dollars have been devoted to periodicals and radio stations that are directed to predominately minority communities, especially those consisting of majority African-American, Portuguese and Hispanic persons. These advertising vehicles and efforts include target marketing in the Springfield, Massachusetts area through home equity and auto loan advertisements over a local Spanish language radio station and advertising in the yellow pages of the Spanish telephone directory. Advertising in that area has also targeted the Portuguese members of the community through advertisements in LUSO, the local Portuguese language newspaper. Loan products are also advertised in the Hudson Valley Black Press, a Newburgh, New York based publication.

Albank sponsors periodic seminars on home buying. These are frequently targeted to low/moderate income and minority communities and have titles such as "How To Own A Home of Your Own" featuring a panel of housing and real estate experts and also offer advice to persons with past credit problems.


1. Albank solicits home mortgage loan applications through its own loan officers and through independent loan brokers and bankers (called "correspondents") that submit applications to Albank for underwriting and, if approved, for funding (or "purchase") by Albank.

2. In early 1997, the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) conducted a special fair lending examination of Albank, focusing on Albank's geographic restrictions for correspondent loans. OTS found reason to believe that Albank had engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination and referred the matter to the Department of Justice.

3. Albank presently has no branches or offices in Connecticut or southern Westchester County. Nothing in this Consent Decree requires Albank to establish any office or branch.

4. In March 1997, Albank Financial Corporation submitted an application to the Banking Board of the State of New York to organize a New York State-chartered commercial bank, ALBANK Commercial. The Superintendent of Banks of New York State has the authority under section 296-a of the New York Executive Law to remediate discriminatory practices in relation to credit. As part of its review of the charter request, the New York State Banking Department (NYSBD) reviewed OTS's findings concerning Albank's geographic lending restrictions in Westchester County and conducted its own analysis. NYSBD and Albank Financial recently entered into a "Remediation Agreement" resolving NYSBD's concerns regarding this issue. This paragraph of the Consent Decree incorporates the component from the Remediation Agreement pertaining to the below-market lending requirements in Westchester County.

5. This balance for each region shall be calculated as proportional to the amount of lending "shortfall" (the difference between the required amount and the amount Albank lent) in each region. Thus, if Albank fails to make $20 million in below- market Westchester County loans within 26 months, the Westchester County contribution shall equal [{amount of shortfall}/$20 million] multiplied by $3.3 million. Similarly, if Albank fails to make $35 million in below-market Connecticut loans within five years, the Connecticut contribution shall equal [{amount of shortfall}/$35 million] multiplied by $4.2 million.


Document Filed: August 13, 1997 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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