Late yesterday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development accused Bank of America of discriminating against homebuyers with disabilities.
HUD claims Bank of America "imposed unnecessary and burdensome requirements on borrowers who relied on disability income to qualify for their home loans and required some disabled borrowers to provide physician statements to qualify for home mortgage loans."HUD's press release says that Bank of America demanded that two homebuyers in Michigan and a homebuyer in Wisconsin provide proof of their disabilities as a condition of giving them home loans. The Fair Housing Act not only bars discrimination based on disability, but also forbids a lender from inquiring about the details of a disability except in limited cases. HUD is charging that Bank of America had no reason to make such a request.
According to the report, Bank of America allegedly asked borrowers to provide proof of their disabilities and the continuation of their Social Security income before approving loans, after first denying them. If the allegations are true, B of A violated the Fair Housing Act.
The formal complaint charges that for some time, Bank of America has required borrowers with disability-related income--be it from Social Security or the VA--to provide more documentation than those who get income from work. It also charges that Bank of America forced at least one borrower to break a medical confidence.
Just when Bank of America finished icing down the black eye it took from trying to charge customers a fee for using a debit card, it gets another shiner in the PR department.