When the economic recession and foreclosure crisis of 2008 rocked the nation, some areas were unquestionably hit harder than others. Some residential real estate markets had simply been overrun by mortgage lenders who had not properly ensured that applicants for home loans were financially qualified to handle the burden. Other markets were dominated by lenders whose practices were suspect in a myriad of other ways.
Unfortunately, the worst of the crisis may have passed, but the impact that illegal or otherwise unacceptable lender behavior has had on homeowners is still being felt in neighborhoods around the nation. Even those homeowners who have had to mount a foreclosure defense and lost are still being haunted by the ill-treatment they have suffered at the hands of major lenders.
It will hopefully bring some small measure of comfort to those who have been wronged to know that big lenders are slowly being held accountable for a variety of unethical and illegal conduct on their part. For example, a recent foreclosure restitution settlement of $27 million paid by Wells Fargo will directly help blighted areas overlooked and unacceptably neglected by the lender in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.
After a prolonged legal battle, Wells Fargo eventually settled with the National Fair Housing Alliance over accusations that it had placed superior marketing and maintenance efforts into properties located in predominantly white neighborhoods than it had in Latino and African-American neighborhoods. Similar suits have been filed by the same organization against U.S. Bank and Bank of America, though these suits have yet to be resolved.
The multi-million dollar settlement will be employed to provide local blighted areas with various forms of rehabilitation as well as down payment assistance grants. Though no amount of money can undo the wrongs done to these areas and their inhabitants, settlements like this one give Americans a reason to believe that justice ultimately finds ways to prevail in the end.
Source: USA Today, "Bank foreclosure settlement to help fight blight," Chris Sikich, June 6, 2013