Bank of America accused of racial discrimination in Denver, other metros

Bank of America is accused of discrimination in 30 U.S. metros and 201 cities including Denver.

staff photo
Conference room used by specialists for financial seminars (Courtesy of Bank of America)

Conference room used by specialists for financial seminars (Courtesy of Bank of America)

The National Fair Housing Alliance is accusing Bank of America of not maintaining foreclosed properties in African-American and Latino neighborhoods throughout the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington, D.C.-based group filed an amended complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development about the Bank of America’s business practices.

The Denver Metro Fair Housing Center is listed as a partner organization involved in the complaint, according to a news release sent Wednesday. Altogether, Bank of America is accused of discrimination in 30 U.S. metros and 201 cities.

The cities added Wednesday were Columbus, Ohio; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis; Newark, New Jersey; Tampa, Florida; and neighborhoods in suburban Detroit.

Bank of America said in a statement to Denverite, “You may be aware, the original complaint dates back nearly four years, and they simply add to it each time they announce a new amendment. So, while Denver is mentioned in the latest amended complaint, there is nothing new in it related to Denver. The city first appeared in the Third Amended Complaint in September 2013, and there have been no new findings since then.”

The bank also said it “has a strong track record and uniform policies for properly maintaining and marketing properties, yet NFHA has continuously presented inaccurate and misleading information as ‘research’ while, at the same time, seeking significant money from our company. We strongly deny NFHA’s past allegations.”

In Denver, 44 Bank of America-owned properties were evaluated.

Twenty-one were located in predominantly Latino neighborhoods, 17 were in predominantly white neighborhoods and three were located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, according to the complaint.

The homes in neighborhoods of color were more likely to have accumulated mail, overgrown grass, structural problems, peeling paint, damaged sidings, exposed and tampered-with utilities and other deficiencies than houses in white neighborhoods in Denver.

“This disgraceful neglect of foreclosed homes in communities of color is not news to executives at Bank of America. We put them on notice in 2009 and met with them to share photographs of the failed maintenance, but to no avail. It is reprehensible for Bank of America to continue discriminating in African American and Latino neighborhoods all across the U.S.,” NFHA president and CEO Shanna Smith said in a statement.

“Bank of America’s deliberate neglect of its foreclosures in communities of color creates financial concerns as well as health and safety risks for people living near poorly-maintained foreclosed homes,” Smith said.

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