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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has charged Bank of America with violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against home buyers with disabilities.

In a statement released by HUD, the department claims Bank of America imposed "unnecessary and burdensome requirements on borrowers who relied on disability income to qualify for their home loans and required some disabled borrowers to provide physician statements to qualify for home mortgage loans."

The Charlotte, N.C.-headquartered bank was the subject of complaints filed by two individual borrowers in Michigan and one borrower in Wisconsin who claimed that Bank of America required them to provide personal medical information and documentation regarding their disability and proof of continuance of their Social Security payment in order to qualify for a home mortgage loan.

"Holding home buyers with disabilities to a higher standard just because they rely on disability payments as a source of income is against the law," says John Trasvina, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. "Mortgage companies may verify income and have eligibility standards, but they may not single out home buyers with disabilities to delay or deny financing when they are otherwise eligible."

HUD adds that it has forwarded the case to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Bank of America did not issue a public comment on the charges. However, in a statement sent to TheHill.com, the bank stated, "There is no basis to allege that Bank of America has engaged in a systemic practice of discriminating on the basis of disability in connection with mortgage lending."


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