Cook County has filed a federal lawsuit against a third mortgage lender, alleging that unfair, predatory lending and loan serving practices, particularly in minority communities, violated the Fair Housing Act.
The suit, filed against Wells Fargo on Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, is similar to others brought in late March against HSBC, Bank of America and its subsidiaries Countrywide and Merrill Lynch. In November, a federal judge in Los Angeles denied a motion by JPMorgan Chase to dismiss a similar lawsuit. Attorneys for Cook County recently made the court here aware of that ruling.
In its lawsuit, the county alleges that Wells Fargo engaged in the practice of “equity stripping” by targeting minority mortgage borrowers in Cook County, particularly Latinos and African-Americans, in order to maximize the income and assets the bank could generate by originating or acquiring high-cost and other nonprime mortgage loans.