The New York Times staffer Rachel Swarns reports on Hudson City Savings Bank, which recently agreed to pay nearly $33 million for "redlining," marking the largest settlement for such practices.
Redlining, in which banks choke off lending to minority communities--drawing a "red line" around a map, circling the neighborhoods in which it doesn't want to lend--was standard practice once upon a time, until the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made it illegal.
Outlawed decades ago, redlining has re-emerged as a serious concern among regulators as banks have sharply retreated from providing home loans to African-Americans in the wake of the financial crisis, according to Swarns.
Over just the past 12 months, federal, state and city officials have successfully required banks to expand minority lending programs and, in some instances, to pay penalties as part of redlining settlements in Buffalo; Milwaukee; Providence, R.I.; Rochester; and St. Louis.And more banks are facing scrutiny. The Justice Department now has more active redlining investigations underway than at any other time in the past seven years, officials said.