U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Assists in Reaching Settlement in a Mortgage Discrimination Case

including the payment of $24,995 to the complainants, settling a racial discrimination complaint filed by Leslie and George Colston against J.P. Morgan Chase Bank and Chase Home Finance. The Colstons alleged that they had applied for a loan for a residential property in Flint, Michigan and the bank delayed the loan process and imposed different terms and conditions because of their race (African American). The Bank denied the allegations of unlawful discrimination and the parties agreed to the settlement without reaching a determination on the merits of the complaint.

In June, 2008 the Colston’s contacted FHCMD, alleging that employees of Chase Bank had discouraged them from purchasing a home in a predominantly African American neighborhood in Flint and referred to Flint as "undesirable". FHCMD Testing Coordinator, Al Young, directed FHCMD testing that provided evidence that supported a claim of racial discrimination and FHCMD Mortgage Investigator, James Stevenson worked closely with the Colstons as they eventually negotiated a loan from Chase Bank. However, the evidence of discriminatory treatment prior to the approval of the mortgage prompted a referral to Attorney Tomkowiak and the subsequent filing of a formal discrimination complaint with HUD.

In addition to the payment of $24,995 to the Colstons, the Bank agreed in the Conciliation Agreement to continue its fair lending employee training activities, follow fair lending laws and include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in its Michigan branches. Yvonne Poindexter, Director of HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Center in Detroit will be the contact person for monitoring compliance with the Conciliation Agreement by the parties.

In related news from HUD, Maurice McGough has been appointed to be the Director of the Region V (including Michigan) Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office of HUD. He replaces Barbara Knox who retired in December 2010 after a very distinguished career with HUD, where she and Mr. McGough have played a very helpful and supportive role working with private, non-profit fair housing groups in the midwest. CONGRATULATIONS from the FHCMD to Ms. Knox and Mr. McGough.