July 11, 2007 / 11:23 PM / 12 years ago

NAACP hits subprime lenders with class action suit

LOS ANGELES, July 11 (Reuters) - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on Wednesday filed a class action lawsuit against 14 subprime mortgage, lenders alleging they engaged in institutionalized, systematic racism.

Lenders named in the lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles federal court, include Ameriquest, Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), Fremont General Corp FMT.N, Countrywide Financial Corp CFC.N, Citigroup Inc (C.N) and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L), Washington Mutual Inc. (WM.N) and others.

The lawsuit cited data from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition showing that lenders on average made high-cost subprime loans to higher-qualified blacks 54 percent of the time, compared to 23 percent of the time for whites, even when the white applicants were less qualified.

It also included research from the Center for Responsible Living. “These statistical disparities are not mere happenstance, but instead result from a systematic and predatory targeting of American-Americans,” the court document said.

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