CALIFORNIA REINVESTMENT COALITION AND FAIR HOUSING ADVOCATES OF NORTHERN
CALIFORNIA FILE FAIR HOUSING COMPLAINT, URGING IMMEDIATE HUD INVESTIGATION INTO CIT
GROUP’S ONEWEST BANK
San Francisco, CA, Nov. 17, 2016—Yesterday, two nonprofit organizations formally filed a complaint requesting
that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) investigate whether CIT Group violated
and continues to violate the Fair Housing Act through its subsidiary, OneWest Bank. In 2014, CIT Group applied
to acquire OneWest Bank, and after receiving regulatory approvals, the merger was completed in August, 2015.
The complaint alleges that OneWest Bank has violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) through redlining practices
such as failing to locate branches in communities of color and extending very few or no mortgage loans to
borrowers of color. It also alleges OneWest maintained and marketed REO homes in predominantly white
neighborhoods better than in neighborhoods of color.
The complaint can be downloaded here, and a supplemental narrative is available here.
Kevin Stein, deputy director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, explains: “Our analysis of OneWest
suggests the bank has no significant branch presence in communities of color, and not surprisingly, its home
loans to borrowers and communities of color are low in absolute terms, low compared to its peer banks, and low
when compared to what one would expect, given the size of the Asian American, African American, and Latino
populations in California. During 2014 and 2015, OneWest originated exactly two mortgage loans to African
American borrowers in its assessment area. OneWest was far more likely to foreclose in communities of color
than to make loans available to people in these communities. We call on HUD to fully investigate CIT’s
redlining practices and to hold the bank accountable for its actions and the harm it has caused to communities.”
“Our investigation revealed troubling differences in how OneWest homes maintained their bank-owned homes
(REOs) in predominantly white neighborhoods vs. neighborhoods of color,” comments Caroline Peattie,
executive director of Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California (formerly Fair Housing of Marin). “The
majority of OneWest REO homes in communities of color looked abandoned, had trash strewn about the yard
and boarded up doors and windows, and weren’t clearly marketed as ‘for sale.’ In contrast, almost all of
OneWest’s REO homes in white communities were well-maintained, had manicured lawns, and were clearly
marketed as ‘for sale.’”
Sharon Kinlaw, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley, adds: “The evidence
included in this complaint suggests that OneWest Bank has steered clear of people of color in its assessment
areas for a number of years. We want to know how many people were harmed and we look forward to learning
what HUD finds out.”
Hyepin Im, founder and president of Korean Churches for Community Development, adds: “It was really
disappointing for me to review the data and to see that even in 2016, it appears our communities are being
redlined. We hope HUD will investigate this complaint and take decisive action to ensure people aren’t being
excluded because of the color of their skin.”
Chancela Al Mansour, executive director of the Housing Rights Center, adds: “This complaint raises serious
concerns about the extent to which people of color have been cut off from branches, mortgages, and other
banking services that OneWest should be providing in the communities where it does business.”
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or
familial status, as well as on the race or national origin of residents of a neighborhood.
The complaint focuses on 3 primary ways OneWest is alleged to violate the Fair Housing Act:
1) OneWest Bank Branches appear to avoid communities of color: OneWest’s sparse branch presence in
communities of color effectively makes banking services and credit products (including mortgages) less
available to people based on their race, color, and national origin, according to the complaint.
2) OneWest Makes Very Few Mortgage Loans to Asian American, African-American, and Latino Borrowers in
its six-county assessment area. According to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data, OneWest Bank
made very few mortgage loans to borrowers and communities of color. Its home loans to borrowers and
communities of color are low in absolute terms, low compared to its peer banks, and low when compared to
what one would expect, given the size of the Asian, African American, and Latino populations in California.
3) OneWest REO Homes Better Maintained in White Neighborhoods:
Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California investigated how well OneWest Bank maintains and markets
homes after foreclosing on the underlying mortgage- otherwise known as Real Estate Owned (REO) homes.
FHANC looked at OneWest REOs in Contra Costa and Solano Counties from April 2014 to May 2016, and
found that properties in White communities were generally well maintained and well marketed with manicured lawns, securely locked doors and windows, and attractive, professional, “for sale” signs posted out front. This
was not the case for the majority of REOs in communities of color where REO properties were more likely to
have trash strewn about the premises, overgrown grass, shrubbery, and weeds, and boarded or broken doors and
windows. OneWest REOs in communities of color appear abandoned, blighted, and unappealing to potential
homeowners, even though they are located in stable neighborhoods with surrounding homes that are wellmaintained.
FHANC found the following patterns based upon its investigation of sixteen REO properties owned by
OneWest in Solano and Contra Costa Counties:
100.0% of the REO properties in communities of color had 5 or more maintenance or marketing
deficiencies, while only 33.3% of the REO properties in predominantly White communities had 5 or more
53.8% of the REO properties in communities of color had 10 or more maintenance or marketing
deficiencies, while none of the REO properties in predominantly White communities had 10 or more
REO properties in communities of color were far more likely to have certain types of deficiencies or
problems than REO properties in predominantly White communities.
Complainant FHANC found significant racial disparities in the majority of the objective factors it
measured, including the following:
61.5% of the REO properties in communities of color had substantial amounts of trash on the premises,
while none of the REO properties in predominantly White communities had the same problem.
61.5% of the REO properties in communities of color had unsecured or broken doors, while none of the
REO properties in predominantly White communities had the same problem.
61.5% of the REO properties in communities of color had a damaged fence, while none of the REO
properties in predominantly White communities had the same problem.
61.5% of the REO properties in communities of color had no professional “for sale” sign marketing the
home, while none of the REO properties in predominantly
White communities had the same problem.53.8% of the REO properties in communities of color had
damaged siding, while none of the REO properties in predominantly White communities had the same