Last month, Philadelphia sued Wells Fargo, claiming that the mega-bank targeted minority customers with predatory loans. Now, another city is coming after the financial institution's allegedly discriminatory lending practices — this time, it's Sacramento, California, CNN reports.
According to CNN, the city of Sacramento filed a lawsuit last week claiming that Wells Fargo maintained a "long-standing pattern and practice" of illegal, predatory lending to minority and low-income communities, negatively affecting home values, tax revenue and increasing foreclosure occurrences.
"Wells Fargo's discriminatory lending practices place vulnerable, underserved borrowers in loans they cannot afford," read the lawsuit's filing. Additionally, four anonymous former Wells Fargo mortgage employees claim the bank "intentionally steered minority borrowers into higher cost loans because of their race or ethnicity."
The anonymous employees claimed they were instructed to offer "lender credits" to minority borrowers. With these credits, the bank pays for a home's closing costs, but the cost of the loan increases, ultimately making the mortgage more expensive.
"Wells Fargo deliberately created an incentive program that induced minority borrowers to take higher cost loans under terms that they did not understand," the lawsuit continued.
The lawsuit also stated that black borrowers with a credit score above 660 were nearly three times more likely to receive a high-cost/high-risk loan at Wells Fargo in comparison to white borrowers. Latinx borrowers were nearly two times more likely to receive the predatory loans.
For those wanting to refinance on existing high-cost mortgages, the city accused Wells Fargo of "refusing to extend credit to minority borrowers."
Wells Fargo released a statement following the city's lawsuit filing, noting that the claims "do not reflect how we operate in the communities we serve."
"We deeply value our relationship with Sacramento," the bank stated, "and are working diligently and consistently with customers, credit counselors, non-profit organizations and government agencies to expand homeownership across the credit spectrum."