Just when you thought people had run out of reasons to hate Bank of America, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pops in to give you a new one. Earlier today, HUD charged BofA of discriminating against homebuyers with disabilities.
According to HUD, the bank imposed “unnecessary and burdensome requirements on borrowers who relied on disability income to qualify for their home loans and required some disabled borrowers to provide physician statements to qualify for home mortgage loans.”
Big problem: It’s in violation of the Fair Housing Act to impose different application or qualification criteria on a homebuyer just because they are disabled. It’s also almost always illegal to inquire about the nature or severity of a disability.
“Holding homebuyers with disabilities to a higher standard just because they rely on disability payments as a source of income is against the law,” said John Trasvi√±a, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Mortgage companies may verify income and have eligibility standards but they may not single out homebuyers with disabilities to delay or deny financing when they are otherwise eligible.”
HUD charges that BofA asked some borrowers for proof of their disabilities and also requested documentation of their Social Security income before approving loans.
The investigation now gets handed over to the Department of Justice.