Two lawsuits accusing Wells Fargo of discriminatory lending practices have been allowed to move forward, a victory for plaintiffs that have accused the bank of steering African-Americans toward predatory loans.
In one lawsuit, brought by the city of Memphis and Shelby County, Tenn., Judge S. Thomas Anderson of Federal District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on Wednesday denied a motion from Wells Fargo to dismiss, partly on the grounds that the suit was too broadly drawn. Both jurisdictions accused the lender of improperly steering African-Americans toward loan products that ultimately led to foreclosures, vacancies and increased government costs.
“The City of Memphis and Shelby County have not alleged that Wells Fargo lending practices resulted in a host of social and political ills plaguing entire sections of the community,” Judge Anderson wrote in a 32-page order. “Rather plaintiffs contend that defendants have targeted individual property owners with specific lending practices (reverse redlining), resulting in specific effects (foreclosures and vacancies) at specific properties, which in turn created specific costs (services and tax revenue) for local government.”
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