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.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

GLAAD combat media reports of trans woman's murder

US media watchdog says coverage of murder of trans woman in Philadelphia was 'sensationalized and inaccurately reported' 
No thumbnail available

Low condom use causes HIV spread in Catholic Philippines

Catholic church is ‘huge stumbling block’ in the fight against the spread of HIV in The Philippines, says expert
No thumbnail available

Canadian couple win discrimination case against bed and breakfast owners

A Canadian gay couple have won their case against a Christian couple who denied them a room in their bed and breakfast and then tried to claim their home was a place of worship
No thumbnail available

Fabrice Houdart: ‘Coming out relieved me of the shame I had felt for so many years’

Now working for World Bank as a Senior Country Officer for Maghreb, Houdart reflects on coming out at work and the journey that business has undertaken in respect to LGBTI workplace equality
No thumbnail available

Gunmen attack group of transgender women in Pakistan killing two

Three Pakistani transgender women were attacked by an armed group of men after performing at a wedding but the motive for the crime appears to be sexual rather than religious
No thumbnail available

Ricky Martin tweets out the cover of his upcoming children's book

Father of twins has written Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars
No thumbnail available

Yachts and Things, an unpublished work by author Truman Capote, surfaces

Thought to be part of Capote's final unfinished novel
No thumbnail available

419-pound winner of Mr Gay UK London disqualified on a technicality...

For wearing his organizer-provided underwear on his head instead of his groin during the underwear segment
No thumbnail available

Were Mick Jagger and David Bowie once lovers?

New book claims they had intense affair in the 1970s
No thumbnail available

Uganda speaker wants anti-gay bill passed by Tuesday

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has promised the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will be a 'Christmas gift' to the Ugandan people