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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

DOJ, Oklahoma bank agree to consent order over redlining

Federal Issues DOJ Oklahoma Redlining Settlement Mortgages Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On August 28, the DOJ announced a settlement agreement to resolve allegations of redlining by an Oklahoma-based bank. According to the complaint, defendant allegedly engaged in redlining by refraining from providing home loans and other mortgage-related services, and also engaged in biased behavior, to deter individuals residing in or seeking credit within predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Tulsa from pursuing mortgage opportunities. According to the proposed consent order, without admitting or denying the allegations, defendant agreed to (i) invest $1.15 million to increase credit opportunities in neighborhoods of color; (ii) invest at least $950,000 in a loan subsidy fund for predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Tulsa; (iii) invest $100,000 for advertising, outreach and consumer education; (iv) invest $100,000 for community partnerships to improve access to residential mortgage credit services; (v) “open a new community-oriented loan production office in the historically Black area of Tulsa”; and (vi) assign at least two mortgage loan officers to solicit mortgage applications in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Tulsa, among other things.

The DOJ press release makes reference to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The bank's press release announcing the settlement responded by stating that “[a]s Oklahomans, we carry a profound sense of sorrow for the tragic events of the Tulsa Race Massacre over a century ago. It is with deep concern that we note the Justice Department’s decision to reference this distressing historical event in its complaint against our bank, established a mere 25 years ago.”