By Dow Jones Business News, September 25, 2013, 02:25:00 PM EDT
BofA Hit With Foreclosure-Upkeep Complaint
Bank of America Corp. ( BAC ) is facing an expanded complaint that it failed to maintain and market foreclosed homes in
minority neighborhoods while putting more effort into upkeep of homes in primarily white areas.
The complaint filed one year ago by the National Fair Housing Alliance and several member organizations, includes five
new cities--Memphis, Denver, Las Vegas, Tucson and Philadelphia--and offers additional evidence about others.
"Every day Bank of America continues to neglect homes it owns in communities of color and prices decline, allowing
investors to snatch up these foreclosures, turning communities into neighborhoods of absentee landlords," NFHA Chief
Executive Shanna L. Smith said. She said Bank of America "has been on notice of these problems since 2009" but is "all
talk and no show."
Dan B. Frahm, a spokesman for Bank of America, said previous claims by NFHA "revealed numerous, material flaws in
their methodology and how they represented that information publicly."
Among other things, he said the majority of properties NFHA faulted Bank of America for were in fact the
responsibility of other entities to maintain and market and included properties the bank had agreed to donate to local
groups in their existing condition.
He also said NFHA's methodology doesn't take into account the condition of the property when it came into the bank's
NFHA's expanded complaint comes after Wells Fargo & Co. ( WFC ) in June agreed to pay $42 million to resolve similar
allegations. The alliance also has filed similar discrimination complaints against U.S. Bancorp ( USB ).
Including the latest cities, the complaint now consists of 18 metropolitan areas covering more than 30 municipalities
where Bank of America is alleged to have discriminated in its maintenance and marketing of its bank-owned homes.
The group found that properties in minority neighborhoods were far more likely to have piled-up trash, water damage,
no "for sale" sign, overgrown lawns and broken doors and windows.
The complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which also funded NFHA's
investigation as part of a grant program to help combat discrimination in housing-related markets.
Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at firstname.lastname@example.org
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