SAN FRANCISCO, July 29, 2019 – Today The California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) and CIT/OneWest Bank announced a fair housing agreement around redlining allegations in Southern California. CRC alleged OneWest redlined Southern California communities by discriminating against residents living in neighborhoods of color in its branch locations, and discriminating in the marketing and issuing of home loans. In 2016, CRC filed a fair housing complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In the HUD-approved settlement with CRC, CIT/OneWest Bank will institute several initiatives that expand banking and lending opportunities for Southern Californian communities of color. These include among other commitments:
- Making $100 million in home purchase, home improvement, and home refinancing loans for Southern Californian neighborhoods of color.
- CIT/OneWest opening a full service branch in a low-income or moderate income area of color.
- A $5 Million in Subsidy Fund for closing costs, down payment assistance, interest rate or insurance premium reduction. This is for owner occupied homes with non-jumbo loans.
- Offer and market Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans and make best efforts to inform borrowers of all loans they qualify for.
- Bank agrees to ensure that it provides all persons with an equal opportunity to apply for and obtain credit, including residential loan products, without regard to the race or national origin of any person.
Experts at the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) made the following statements regarding today’s agreement:
“As the White House spews racism and xenophobia into our streets daily, today is a good development for those that care about making our economy work for everybody and not simply President Trump’s corporate cabinet. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting led OneWest while it threw people of color and low-income Californians out of their homes and denied them access to home loans. CRC looks forward to working with CIT/OneWest as they deliver safe banking services and products to the people that need them the most,” says Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, The California Reinvestment Coalition Executive Director.
“This agreement has the potential to bring about positive change for communities most impacted by discrimination and redlining. It will create a meaningful chance for groups most often targeted for abuse to own a home and build wealth over time. The Bank’s commitment to provide $5 million in subsidies to eligible borrowers and $100 million in home lending, including marketing FHA loans, will enable more Californians to remain and thrive in their neighborhoods.” says Kevin Stein, The California Reinvestment Coalition Deputy Director.
The California Reinvestment Coalition members based in Southern California also issued comments on the agreement.
“At a time when banks are moving out and not moving in, OneWest’s commitment to opening a branch in a low-income community of color is a good development. Our communities need access to savings and checking accounts. They need real lending opportunities. Scammers prey upon our neighborhoods every day. I’m happy there’s more alternatives coming our way,” says Sharon Kinlaw, Executive Director, The Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley.
“In our experience, South L.A. has been redlined for at least 25 years. We are glad to see a robust commitment for people living in our neighborhoods getting the chance for home loans that have long been denied to our families. Everyone deserves to buy a home to live in, if they choose. ” say The Multicultural Real Estate Alliance for Urban Change’s CEO, Dolores Golden, and Past President Sherri Jackson.
“This deal means a lot to immigrant families. The ability to access Individual Taxpayer Identification Number loans and translation and interpretation services is significant to improve the chance for every Californian, regardless of immigration status, to own a home and build a better life,” says Elba Schildcrout, Director of Community Health, East LA Community Corporation.