Wells Fargo’s alleged discriminatory loan practices seem to be coming with consequences as New York City has announced it will no longer open new depository bank accounts with the company, according to an official letter.
AfroTech has been tracking the findings surrounding Wells Fargo’s lending practices, and as we just told you, information released by Bloomberg suggested half of the Black applicants who were looking to refinance their homes were rejected. More recently, we reported Wells Fargo received backlash for allegedly rejecting lower interest rates for Black homeowners leading to a proposed class-action lawsuit in San Francisco, CA.
In response, it appears New York City is taking a stand against Wells Fargo’s alleged actions in an official statement released Friday, April 8 by Mayor Eric Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander.
“As the Mayor and Comptroller of New York City, a diverse community where Black homeowners own and are the primary residents of more than a quarter of two-to-four person homes, we are both gravely concerned about the recent report in Bloomberg that Wells Fargo rejected over half of Black applicants seeking to refinance their homes in 2020 while approving over 70% of white applicants,” the letter read.
“These disparate mortgage practices, layered upon a checkered history of steering homeowners of color into subprime mortgages, rejecting mortgages in redlined neighborhoods, and numerous outstanding consent decrees pertaining to mortgage practices, require a swift response by both your bank and stakeholders. In light of this persisting track record of discrimination, New York City will not be opening any new depository accounts with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. as we continue to investigate these troubling findings.”
No City Agency Deposit Accounts Open With Wells Fargo
The City of New York had previously removed Wells Fargo from its 2017 list of designated banks. Following a contested vote, Wells Fargo was added back in 2021. Currently, there are no city agency deposit accounts open with Wells Fargo, according to the information provided within the letter.
“These disturbing practices are part of a long legacy and history of discrimination against Black Americans for generations, extracting wealth from our communities that perpetuates the country’s wealth gap. As a City, we cannot in good conscience ignore this deplorable conduct. I support Mayor Adams and Comptroller Lander’s decision to stop opening depository accounts with Wells Fargo because these unacceptable actions must have consequences,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams in a statement.
Mayor Adams and Comptroller Lander Open To Conversations Surrounding Wells Fargo's Progress
AfroTech previously reported that Wells Fargo pledged $210 million to support minority families as they navigate homeownership. So, it seems to be working to alleviate not only the concerns of New York City but also those impacted by its alleged discriminatory practices.
For now, Mayor Adams and Comptroller Lander will be on standby for a conversation on how the banking giant can continue to develop fair practices for its members.