Today, Trustmark National Bank announced that it had reached settlement agreements with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for alleged discrimination against Black and Hispanic communities and residents in Memphis, Tennessee.
Jesse Van Tol, President and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), made the following statement:
“It’s encouraging to see regulators and the Justice Department take action and put all lenders on notice that the nation’s fair housing and fair lending laws can’t be ignored and that discrimination in lending and housing will not be tolerated. The evidence of ongoing discrimination in mortgage and small business lending is overwhelming. This includes mystery shopper tests conducted by NCRC that have repeatedly demonstrated how lenders respond differently to different sets of prospective borrowers. It’s frustrating and mind-boggling that we’re still dealing with this kind of discrimination 53 years after the Fair Housing Act was enacted. Clearly the agencies responsible for enforcement of fair lending, fair housing and consumer protection laws haven’t done enough, and the same can be said for lenders themselves. The private sector needs to step up and do more to meet the credit needs of all Americans, and to drive discrimination out of their businesses entirely.
“I’m also encouraged by Acting Comptroller Hsu’s leadership to move forward toward stronger and clearer Community Reinvestment Act rules to meaningfully address the lingering and pervasive inequities in access to credit and capital that need to be driven out of the economy once and for all. Today’s action by the OCC, CFPB and Justice Department is a strong signal that the federal government is again taking its enforcement responsibility seriously.
“As a native of Memphis, I am dismayed and disturbed, but not surprised, by this news. We see clear patterns of segregation and discrimination in Memphis. Corporate leaders in Memphis need to come together and say enough is enough.”