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HUD Accuses BofA Of Discrimination Against Disabled Homebuyers

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged Bank of America with discriminating against disabled homebuyers. The case arose from three complaints in Michigan and Wisconsin. HUD says Bank of America underwriters required doctor's letters to verify the disabilities of borrowers. HUD also says BofA required borrowers to get additional statements from people who could verify they were disabled. The bank also wanted proof that federal disability payments would continue at least three years. All this, HUD says, was an additional and illegal burden placed on disabled borrowers. In other words, they were held to a higher standard than other loan applicants. "Mortgage companies may verify income and have eligibility standards but they may not single out homebuyers with disabilities to delay or deny financing when they are otherwise eligible," said John Trasvina, a HUD assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. A Bank of America spokesman blamed the problems on what he says are "inconsistencies" between FHA and conventional loan underwriting procedures. The Justice Department will prosecute the case.