This week, the National Fair Housing Alliance plans to officially add Minneapolis to the list of more than 40 cities in which Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank is accused of illegal discrimination in "neighborhoods of color."
In a release, the alliance alleges, "U.S. Bank fails to perform basic maintenance and marketing tasks for its bank-owned foreclosures in African American and Latino neighborhoods to the same standard as in White neighborhoods, a practice that violates the federal Fair Housing Act."
Kevin Paul, spokesman for the alliance, declined to provide specifics about the Minneapolis allegations ahead of an online news conference scheduled for Thursday, but said, "Essentially we're raising a flag here with HUD [the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] alerting them to discrimination. What happens after that is HUD takes a look at our evidence and evidence from U.S. Bank's side, and issues a finding as to whether there's evidence to substantiate a discrimination claim."
Though the alliance is pointing the finger specifically at U.S. Bank in this case, Paul added, "We tend to find the same sort of discrimination happening by various banks."
On that note, Paul said one of the "potential outcomes" of HUD's investigation could be a settlement along the lines of one reached between the alliance and Wells Fargo last year.
Accused of housing discrimination in a number of cities, Wells Fargo agreed to provide $27 million to the alliance and its affiliates to promote home ownership, neighborhood stabilization, property rehabilitation, and development in minority communities, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
"These were the neighborhoods that were hardest hit and the money went to repairing the damage that happened," Paul told us.
We'll follow up later in the week to get more information about the specifics of U.S. Bank's alleged discrimination in its hometown, so stay tuned.