Ben Crump and Willie Brown Team Up to Battle Wells Fargo’s Discrimination Against Blacks

Estimates are that as many as 750,000 people of color nationwide may have been affected by discrimination at the hands of Wells Fargo according to famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump who is part of an ongoing lawsuit against America’s fourth largest bank. “Today, we’re fighting the 21st century battle in civil rights, which is one of economic justice,” Crump said in a press conference held this week in San Francisco where the bank is headquartered.
The lawsuit maintains that Wells Fargo charged Blacks higher interest rates, while approving significantly fewer mortgage loans and less opportunities to finance. “This case will rise to the level of Brown v. Board of Education” and other prominent civil rights cases, said former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who was pleased that the case was going to be heard in the Bay area. One of the top residential mortgage providers in the United States, Wells Fargo has been accused of racist and discriminatory tactics for years, with disparities said to be greater than with other major lenders.In 2020, Wells Fargo approved 67.1% of white borrowers who applied for a mortgage, compared to only 51.8% of Black applicants. Also in 2020, the average interest rate Wells Fargo charged a Black borrower was 3.34%, compared to 3.23% for white borrowers.Federal Reserve emergency actions in response to the pandemic pushed mortgage rates to record lows in 2020 and 2021, but Crump said Wells Fargo’s discriminatory practices denied Black customers those benefits by withholding mortgages and charging Black customers higher interest rates.“Home ownership is the heart of the American Dream, and Wells Fargo has pushed that dream out of reach for thousands of Black Americans with their blatantly discriminatory loan practices,” Crump said. “Just as we’ve cried out against policing practices that kill Black lives, so we denounce Wells Fargo’s racially motivated banking practices that kill Black opportunity.”


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