Wells Fargo has become the target of a discrimination complaint filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the complaint, the San Francisco-based lender has improperly maintained and marketed real estate owned (REO) properties in predominantly African American and Hispanic neighborhoods while showing more diligence to similar properties in predominantly white communities.
In its complaint, the NFHA alleges that Wells Fargo has a ‘systemic and particularized practice of engaging in differential treatment in maintaining and/or marketing its REO properties on the basis of race, color and/or national origin. This practice has occurred at least since 2010 and continues to persist on a national basis and/or in any of eight metropolitan areas NFHA and its operating members investigated in 2011 and 2012.’
The NFHA adds that it ‘evaluated over three dozen objective factors in seven different categories – curb appeal, structure, signage and occupancy, paint and siding, gutters, water damage, and utilities,’ and claims that it ‘observed stark racial disparities’ in how the financial services company handled its REO properties.
Wells Fargo did not publicly respond to the complaint.