Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Senate Democrats urge OCC to review Santander Bank discriminatory lending charges

By J. Preston Carter, J.D., LL.M.

Senate Democrats are urging the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to review charges of discriminatory lending by Santander Bank that surfaced in a Committee for Better Banks report. The OCC recently downgraded Santander’s Community Reinvestment Act rating for failure to meet the law’s requirements in serving low-and-moderate-income neighborhoods based on review of performance records from 2011 to 2013. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and several other Democratic senators have written to Comptroller Thomas J. Curry urging him to review the report’s findings when the agency examines the bank’s most recent record to determine compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act.
The senators said that while they were "pleased that the OCC’s examination considered recent enforcement actions against the bank for illegal overdraft fees and unlawful repossessions of cars from military servicemembers, it is imperative that the OCC also take into account findings which suggest discriminatory lending practices." The letter said the report, which was "based on an analysis of Santander’s mortgage lending in 15 metropolitan areas in 2014 and 2015," includes "alarming findings of disparities in loan origination, denial, and application rates for minority and low-income borrowers."
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