NFHA sues Deutsche Bank, Ocwen, Altisource over REO racial discrimination

by Francis Monfort06 Feb 2018
Deutsche Bank is facing allegations that it failed to maintain its foreclosed bank-owned homes in middle- and working-class African American and Latino neighborhoods, while maintaining similar bank-owned homes in white neighborhoods.

A lawsuit filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 19 fair-housing organizations accuses the company, along with Deutsche Bank National Trust and Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, of racial discrimination.

The suit, filed in federal district court in Chicago, also names Ocwen Financial and Altisource Portfolio Solutions as defendants. Ocwen and Altisource are the servicer and property management company, respectively, responsible for maintaining and marketing a large number of Deutsche Bank’s properties.

NFHA said it filed the lawsuit following a multiyear investigation it undertook with its fair housing agency partners beginning in 2010. NFHA said the data supporting the lawsuit, which includes photographic evidence, shows a pattern of discriminatory conduct by the defendants in the maintenance of foreclosed homes.

While the defendants are required under contract to perform routine maintenance and marketing to the REO homes, the suit claims that homes in predominantly white working- and middle-class neighborhoods are far more likely to have been maintained.

“The intentional neglect of bank-owned homes in communities of color devalues the property and the lives of the families living in the neighborhoods around them. The health and safety hazards created by these blighted Deutsche Bank-owned homes affect the residents, especially the children, living nearby,” NFHA President and CEO Shanna Smith said. “It is important to note that Deutsche Bank, Ocwen, and Altisource were all paid to secure, maintain, and market these homes. No one is asking for special treatment of these bank-owned homes; we simply ask that these companies provide the same standard of care for all bank-owned homes, regardless of the racial or ethnic composition of the neighborhood in which they are located.”

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