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Ulster Savings Bank accused of discriminatory lending practices

Nov 30, 2016 5:30 am

Paul Kirby is reporting in the Daily Freeman Ulster Savings Bank has been accused of discriminating against African Americans in its mortgage practices. The Fair Housing Justice Center filed suit in the U.S. District Court in White Plains November 4, following a two-year investigation into the bank's lending practices. The Manhattan-based non-profit center alleges the bank is acting in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, a law intended to protect a buyer or renter of a residence from discrimination. According to the complaint, Ulster Savings Bank loan officers, at various locations, "repeatedly offered less-favorable and lower loan packages and options to African Americans than to their white counterparts, even as the African Americans presented with higher income, more cash savings, lower monthly liabilities and better credit scores than those white counterparts." In one of several similar instances, an African-American tester was told he qualified for a maximum loan amount that was $200,000 less than his white counterpart. The complaint also alleges loan officers appeared to guide African Americans toward communities with higher percentage minority populations, while guiding potential white borrowers toward locations with proportionately whiter populations. When contacted, Ulster Savings Bank Chief Executive Officer William Calderara declined to comment on the allegations contained in the complaint, but said the Kingston-based bank, “is very proud of our history and serving our community.” He said the became aware of the allegations only after the lawsuit was filed and “will look into” the accusations. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.