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Wells Fargo loan officers guided minorities toward high-rate mortgages and joked that they were “riding the stagecoach to hell” for routinely steering prime-loan-qualified customers toward subprime loans, according to sworn declarations by two former employees, filed in federal court this week.
The affidavits were offered as evidence in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Baltimore last year and amended Monday, alleging “tens of millions” of dollars in losses from racist, predatory lending, known as “reverse redlining”- the targeting of minority borrowers, regardless of credit history, for unfavorable subprime loans. The city says the practice led to increased foreclosures, vacant properties and crime in black communities.
“Our minority residents and homeowners, many of whom were first-time buyers, were led down a disastrous primrose path by Wells Fargo, one of the biggest lenders in the city of Baltimore,” City Solicitor George Nilson said in an interview Wednesday.”We’re trying to do what we can to get some kind of redress.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”