Bank of America fined after refusing lesbians mortgage loan

Bank of America has been fined $7,500 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development after employees wrongfully denied a mortgage loan to a lesbian couple because they weren’t legally married

Bank of America fined after refusing lesbians mortgage loan
03 January 2013

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has fined Bank of America $7,500 after it refused to provide a lesbian couple with a mortgage loan because they were not married.

Bank of America employees had originally told the couple they would qualify for a government backed loan if one of the women and her partner’s mother signed for the loan.

However the day before they were supposed to settle the arrangement with the bank they were told that Bank of America could not consider the signers to be legally related because the couple were not married.

The $7,500 fine was the result of a negotiated settlement between Bank of America and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in which the bank also agreed to ‘remind Applicable Employees that they are prohibited from discriminating against applicants of FHA-insured loans on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.’

‘Additionally, Bank of America shall update its existing fair lending training program for Applicable Employees to include information on the Equal Access Rule’s prohibition against discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,’ the settlement read.

‘This agreement demonstrates that [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] will vigorously enforce its Equal Access rule and pursue lenders that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status,’ said the department’s general legal council Helen Kanoysky.

‘By the same token, Bank of America should be commended for stepping up and taking immediate corrective action after [the department] notified Bank of America of the violation.’

The department’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, John Trasviña, said the Equal Access Rule was something lenders needed to take seriously.

‘The … Equal Access Rule means just what it says: one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status is not a legitimate basis on which to deny a mortgage,’ Trasviña said.

‘Members of the housing industry should take note of this settlement agreement.’

The agreement is the first enforcement action taken against a lender involving the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s rule ensuring that its core housing programs be open to all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

Despite the incident, Bank of America have been one of the leading corporate voices calling for marriage rights for same-sex couples in the US.

One of the bank’s senior executives of its corporate and investment baking division, Julia Hoggett, is a lesbian and recently spoke to GSN about her experiences as an openly gay woman in the banking world.

Bank of America took part in a global workplace summit on LGBT equality in London in November.



No thumbnail available

Some churches in the US are preparing to be sued over gay marriage

Due to the US Supreme Court's Defense of Marriage Act decision, some conservative Christian churches are worried about facing legal challenges from gay couples
No thumbnail available

Unisex bathrooms not allowed in Aussie capital? 

Bar owner seeking legal advice about unisex bathrooms
No thumbnail available

Topless drummers and a leather-clad space vixen: it's Eurovision

Rapping astronauts, falling birds, disco balls and half-naked male dancers... it’s time for Eurovision Semi-Final One
No thumbnail available

Google to launch global bid to ‘Legalize Love’ for gays

Global giant Google searches for a way to make the world a better place for lesbians, gays and bisexuals with new campaign
No thumbnail available

Bollywood stars tickled pink at gay film festival opening

Actress Moushumi Chatterjee attends star-studded opening gala of Kashish, India's only queer film festival in Mumbai
No thumbnail available

Russian lesbian discovered with throat slit in St Petersburg

Local dance teacher, Ekaterina Khomenko, was found dead in her car - prompting a murder investigation and homophobic comments online
No thumbnail available

NI's Health Minister sorry for saying gay couples are more likely to 'abuse' children

'I was not attacking the homosexual community, I was attacking their campaign for marriage, which is seeking an end to traditional marriage'
No thumbnail available

US drag star Sahara Davenport reported to have died

Contestant on Ru Paul's Drag Show is believed to have died last night, though some claim it is a rumor
No thumbnail available

Nevada Senate passes gay marriage

Nevada state Senate repealed a ban on gay marriage and passed a marriage equality resolution during which the impassioned debate Senator Kelvin Atkinson came out as a gay man
No thumbnail available