Discrimination in mortgage lending is prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act and HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity actively enforces those provisions of the law. The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to engage in the following practices based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability):
- Refuse to make a mortgage loan or refinance a mortgage loan;
- Refuse to provide information regarding loans;
- Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
- Discriminate in appraising property;
- Refuse to purchase a loan or set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan; and
- Discriminate in providing other financial assistance for purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a dwelling or other financial assistance secured by residential real estate.
Filing a Complaint
If you have experienced any one of the above actions, you may be the victim of discrimination. Recognizing the signs of lending discrimination is the first step in filing a complaint. HUD investigates your complaints at no cost to you. If you believe you have experienced lending discrimination, visit our housing discrimination complaint website to file a complaint.
Maternity leave Discrimination
Since 2010, HUD has seen a steady stream of complaints alleging discrimination against borrowers who are on maternity leave. In these cases, lenders allegedly denied or delayed loans to working women because they were pregnant or on maternity leave. Sometimes, a lender allegedly treated women differently by requiring women to end their maternity leave and return to work in order to be approved for a loan.
In recent years, the Department has seen a number of complaints alleging discrimination against mortgage applicants who receive disability income. In such cases, lenders allegedly treated individuals with disabilities less favorably than individuals without disabilities, such as by applying more invasive and burdensome income documentation requirements. Read an example here.
In November 2014, HUD signed a conciliation agreement with MortgageIT, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, where MortgageIT agreed to pay $12.1 million resolving allegations that the residential lender discriminated against African American and Hispanic borrowers seeking mortgage loans. Read more about the Settlement Agreement.