(Adds Fifth Third statement, paragraph 6)
WASHINGTON Aug 7 Fifth Third Bancorp Inc's
mortgage unit will pay $1.52 million to settle U.S.
government charges that it discriminated against some loan
applicants by demanding letters from doctors to document income
from Social Security disability insurance.
The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday said the accord
resolves allegations that the unit violated the federal Fair
Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act by discriminating
on the basis of disability and receipt of public assistance.
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third will pay the money into a fund
to compensate eligible victims. It will also improve training of
loan officers and underwriters, and monitor loan applications to
ensure that disabled applicants are not asked for letters from
The accord "protects those with disabilities from having
this unnecessary, inappropriate and illegal intrusion into the
most private of their affairs," U.S. Attorney Michael Moore in
Macon, Georgia, said in a statement.
Settlement papers were filed with the U.S. District Court in
Macon, and Fifth Third cooperated fully with the probe, the
Justice Department said.
In a statement, Fifth Third said it is pleased to settle,
and "remains committed to making mortgages available on a fair
and equitable basis." The lender has about 1,300 branches and
2,600 automated teller machines in a dozen U.S. states.
(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by
Leslie Adler and Grant McCool)