Emigrant Savings Bank Discriminated Against Minorities, Brooklyn Jury Says

A federal jury in Brooklyn found on Monday that the Emigrant Savings Bank had discriminated against eight minority homeowners by purposefully marketing to them subprime mortgages.

News Story (New York)

Alan Feuer
New York Times (NYT)
June 27, 2016

Tags: Housing: Mortgage

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services NYC (LSNYC)


In 2011, the homeowners — among them a home health aide, a library worker and a clinician at Rikers Island — filed a lawsuit against the bank in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, claiming that Emigrant Savings had targeted minority customers who had low credit scores with so-called no-income refinancing loans from 2005 to 2009, both before and after the subprime crash. Ending a monthlong trial, the jury’s verdict upheld the plaintiffs’ claim that the bank had “aggressively” sold the “highly abusive” loans specifically to minority families in violation of the Fair Housing Act, among other state and federal laws.

Six of the plaintiffs were awarded a total of $950,000 in damages in the case. Two others waived their claims after entering into a loan modification agreement with the bank. “Today’s verdict was a victory for borrowers seeking redress for Emigrant’s discriminatory and predatory lending practices,” said Rachel Geballe, a lawyer for Brooklyn Legal Services, which represented the plaintiffs.