WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. Justice Department is cracking down on discrimination in mortgage lending — a problem it says has led to generational income inequality among minorities.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department launched a new initiative to fight discriminatory lending practices known as redlining “by making far more robust use of our fair lending authorities.”
The department’s civil rights division will partner with U.S. attorneys’ offices to help make fair access to credit a reality in underserved communities.
“The initiative represents the department’s most aggressive effort to address redlining,” Garland said.
The Justice Department also announced the second redlining settlement in two months, this time with Trust Mark National Bank in a case out of Tennessee.
“The agreement resolves allegation that Trust Mark engaged in lending discrimination by redlining predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods,” Garland said.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke explained that historic lending discrimination has contributed to generational wealth inequality.
“The extent of the disparities is staggering. The median family wealth of a Black family is $24,100, compared to $188,200 for a white family,” said Clarke. “The home ownership gap between white and Black families is larger today than it was in 1960.”
The Justice Department said no resources will be spared and more legal action to fight redlining will come.