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Press Release

Justice Department Hosts Forum in Newark, New Jersey to Highlight Nationwide Effort to Combat Modern-Day Redlining

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department hosted a forum in Newark, New Jersey, to discuss efforts to combat modern-day redlining. Redlining is an illegal practice in which lenders avoid providing credit services to individuals living in certain communities because of the race, color or national origin of the residents of those communities. 

The forum, which commemorated Fair Housing Month and the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, featured Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Director Rohit Chopra of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger for the District of New Jersey and New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin, who each spoke at today’s program about their respective agencies’ response to the pernicious problem of residential redlining. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka also provided opening remarks at the event, which was hosted at Seton Hall Law School.

“We must use every tool available to us to confront modern-day redlining and to hold banks and financial institutions accountable when they fail to provide communities of color equal access to lending opportunities,” said Assistant Attorney General Clarke. “Since the launch of the Justice Department’s Combating Redlining Initiative, we have secured nearly $85 million dollars in relief for communities that have suffered from lending discrimination. Redlining, appraisal discrimination, so-called crime-free ordinances and racial steering stand as continued threats to fair housing and economic opportunity in our country – we are committed to eradicating these unlawful practices that have caused harm to communities of color for far too long.”

“Redlining is not a relic of the past. It exists in new forms, including in the physical and digital worlds,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “When it comes to modern-day redlining, the CFPB is prioritizing efforts with federal and state prosecutors to uncover illegal digital redlining by algorithms and artificial intelligence, reverse redlining through predatory targeting, and harmful discrimination by nonbanks.”

“Part of the promise of America is equal opportunity,” said U.S. Attorney Sellinger. “Achieving that dream should be color blind – whether you get a home loan should not depend on the color of your skin or national origin. Redlining is racist, pure and simple. This type of systemic and intentional discrimination cannot – and will not – be tolerated.”

“Access to quality and safe housing is a right that should be enjoyed by all,” said New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “As we commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, we still have work to do to ensure that no one is denied that right due to the color of their skin or national origin. New Jersey’s strong housing laws and our federal fair lending laws send the message that we will not tolerate discriminatory practices in housing access, and, as a nation, we must ensure that those laws are enforced.”

“Redlining has been historically pervasive and deliberate in this country, and cities like Newark have been at the front end of the abuse. While redlining is illegal, we know that this ugly form of racism is still widely practiced,” said Mayor Baraka. “To deny people, specifically in Black and Latino neighborhoods in Newark, mortgage-lending services, based strictly on their race, robs and makes the American dream of homeownership unattainable. It impedes families from building generational wealth and widens the racial wealth gap. We must hold lenders accountable for their illegal and racist policies and behaviors and take deliberate action to reverse the effects of redlining and stop it.”

The forum also featured Seton Hall Law professors as well as civil rights stakeholders in New Jersey, who provided their invaluable perspectives on the effects of redlining on communities of color in New Jersey, and the vital role that community engagement can play in combating redlining.  In connection with the event, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division also released a fact sheet highlighting the successes of the Combating Redlining Initiative.

In October 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland launched the Justice Department’s Combating Redlining Initiative, a coordinated enforcement effort to address this persistent form of discrimination against communities of color. The initiative has expanded the department’s reach by strengthening partnerships with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices around the country, regulatory partners and its partners in state Attorneys General offices. Since the initiative was launched, the department has announced six redlining cases and settlements and nearly $85 million in relief for communities of color that have been victims of lending discrimination across the country, including a $31 million settlement with City National Bank, the largest redlining settlement in department history. The settlements also include two agreements with Trident Mortgage Company, for $20.4 million, and the Lakeland Bank, for $13.4 million. These two settlements provide tens of millions of dollars to increase credit opportunities for residents of communities of color in and around Camden and Newark, New Jersey. 

Additional information about the department’s fair lending enforcement can be found at Fair Lending Program. Individuals may report lending discrimination by calling the Justice Department’s housing discrimination tip line at 1-833-591-0291, or submitting a report online. Individuals may also report civil rights violations through or call the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339.

Updated April 19, 2023

Civil Rights
Fair Housing
Press Release Number: 23-439