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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
Estimated cost of the environmental damage caused each year by the world’s 3,000 largest companies:
Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.
Beekeepers began extracting 1 million honeybees living beneath the siding of a house in New York State.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”