Representatives of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) met in Chicago Thursday with community stakeholders to discuss national, state and local elements of the banking and housing crisis. The meeting was the first of a series of Fair Lending Forums, and task-force representatives in attendance included members of the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Reserve Board and the state of Illinois.
The task force's Fair Lending Unit, housed in the Civil Rights Division, is investigating major lenders for potential fraudulent practices targeted to minority communities, including practices commonly known as redlining, reverse-redlining and pricing discrimination.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division; FFETF Executive Director Robb Adkins; HUD Deputy General Counsel Michelle Aronowitz; and Timothy R. Burniston from the Federal Reserve Board were among the guests hosted by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Task-force members participated in panel sessions with Chicago community leaders, including representatives of the Chicago Urban League, the Spanish Coalition for Housing and the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs, to discuss the community impact of discriminatory lending practices in housing and banking, and the growing number of foreclosures. In the afternoon, task-force representatives will tour a Chicago neighborhood that was affected by these practices.
‘Fair-lending enforcement is a top priority for Attorney General Eric Holder and for us in the Civil Rights Division, as we continue to grapple with the fallout from the housing boom and subsequent foreclosure crisis,’ said Assistant Attorney General Perez.
The task force, established by President Obama in November 2009, includes representatives from a range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice