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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Wells Fargo accused of racial discrimination in lending practices

By Jason Hancock | 08.27.09 | 6:39 pm

Minority homeowners in Des Moines were three times more likely to receive high-cost subprime mortgage loans from Wells Fargo & Co. than white homeowners, according to research assembled by two watchdog organizations.

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Des Moines-based Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Chicago-based National People’s Action have compiled data showing 46 percent of African-American and 35 percent of Latino homeowners in the Des Moines area that received a mortgage from Wells Fargo were given a high-cost, subprime loan. Only 20 percent of white borrowers were given these loans.

When only low- or moderate-income borrowers are factored in, African-American and Latino homeowners in Des Moines were four times as likely to receive a subprime loan as their white counterparts.

Similar numbers in other parts of the country have sparked legal action against Wells Fargo, which is not only the nation’s largest mortgage lender but is also the largest employer in Central Iowa, with more than 11,000 full-time employees in 2008.

So far, no legal action has been taken in Iowa.

The city of Baltimore sued the company last year claiming it engaged in a pattern of predatory lending practices in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, specifically targeting African-American neighborhoods for high-risk and unfairly priced loans.

The practice, known as reverse redlining, is prohibited under the federal Fair Housing Act.

Earlier this month, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a similar lawsuit against the company, claiming Wells Fargo specifically targeted heavily populated African American and Latino areas for high-cost loans, while whites with similar income levels received lower-cost loans.

Madigan’s lawsuit contends that Wells Fargo’s practices “transformed African-American and Latino neighborhoods into ground zero for subprime lending.”

The suit also claims some borrowers were led to believe that they were getting loans from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which is principally a prime lender, when in fact their loans were from a subprime unit, Wells Fargo Financial. Both of those entities are headquartered in the Des Moines metropolitan area.

Bob Brammer, a spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, said his office is monitoring Illinois’ lawsuit but has not taken any action so far on this particular issue.

Miller is no stranger to the subprime mortgage crisis. He was one of the main attorneys general in a lawsuit last year accusing Countrywide Financial Corp. of unfair and deceptive tactics in its loan-origination and servicing activities — and that borrowers often were put in structurally unfair and unaffordable loans.

The company eventually agreed to provide loan modifications to up to 397,000 borrowers nationwide.

Miller’s office also helped establish the “Iowa Mortgage Help” initiative, which set up a hotline and Web site to offer free counseling for homeowners in financial distress.

In a statement to the Iowa Independent, Wells Fargo said the allegations are a complete mischaracterization of the company’s lending practices.

“We have a long-standing commitment to fair and responsible lending,” the company said. “The policies, systems and controls we have in place ensure race is not a factor in the pricing or products we offer. Our controls are designed to ensure our lending is fair, responsible and nondiscriminatory. Our pricing is competitive and reflects the risk in the transaction including credit, loan type, loan-to-value ratio and property type. Prime pricing is made available to all borrowers who qualify.”

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


Comments

  • jhenry0209

    If anyone has had any luck with any of these companies, could you please post it for the ones that cannot find one to work with you. We've almost lost once and just got a second chance that want last long so I need to get something done now, so if anyone knows the right number to call, i am sure a lot of people that hasn't found them would appreciate it but check out http://www.obamamortgagerelief.org/

  • maggy08

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Susan

    http://pay-dayadvance.net

  • maggy08

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Susan

    http://pay-dayadvance.net

  • nicottesfm

    Wells Fargo talks about lending laws. Well let me tell you something as a former employee of Wells Fargo. I believe Wells Fargo uses there “lending laws”as a crutch or a escape. I worked for Financial and hated what we did to people's credit.They take applications knowing that there is nothing you can offer the customer. The Customer can tell you that they have bad credit,just filed bankrupcy and lost there house. The company traines there employeed to smile and say “You may not have the best credit but we still may have a oppertunity for you.We lend to people that have not so perfect credit” What's funny about that is the fact that the whole time I was with the company I think on the COD product I had pre approved 5 if that COD in a two year period.Not only that but this is also a company that I see perform horrable customer service and is even worse at communicating together as a company.Knowbody ever seems to know what is going on or is ever on the same page. I dont belive that this is a company that looks out for the best interest of the customer. I would not be suprise if this is a company that fails in the near future. What comes around go's around so be careful Wells Fargo or you might just become someone's bitch!

  • nicottesfm

    Wells Fargo talks about lending laws. Well let me tell you something as a former employee of Wells Fargo. I believe Wells Fargo uses there “lending laws”as a crutch or a escape. I worked for Financial and hated what we did to people's credit.They take applications knowing that there is nothing you can offer the customer. The Customer can tell you that they have bad credit,just filed bankrupcy and lost there house. The company traines there employeed to smile and say “You may not have the best credit but we still may have a oppertunity for you.We lend to people that have not so perfect credit” What's funny about that is the fact that the whole time I was with the company I think on the COD product I had pre approved 5 if that COD in a two year period.Not only that but this is also a company that I see perform horrable customer service and is even worse at communicating together as a company.Knowbody ever seems to know what is going on or is ever on the same page. I dont belive that this is a company that looks out for the best interest of the customer. I would not be suprise if this is a company that fails in the near future. What comes around go's around so be careful Wells Fargo or you might just become someone's bitch!

  • nicottesfm

    Wells Fargo talks about lending laws. Well let me tell you something as a former employee of Wells Fargo. I believe Wells Fargo uses there “lending laws”as a crutch or a escape. I worked for Financial and hated what we did to people's credit.They take applications knowing that there is nothing you can offer the customer. The Customer can tell you that they have bad credit,just filed bankrupcy and lost there house. The company traines there employeed to smile and say “You may not have the best credit but we still may have a oppertunity for you.We lend to people that have not so perfect credit” What's funny about that is the fact that the whole time I was with the company I think on the COD product I had pre approved 5 if that COD in a two year period.Not only that but this is also a company that I see perform horrable customer service and is even worse at communicating together as a company.Knowbody ever seems to know what is going on or is ever on the same page. I dont belive that this is a company that looks out for the best interest of the customer. I would not be suprise if this is a company that fails in the near future. What comes around go's around so be careful Wells Fargo or you might just become someone's bitch!

  • Mike Clark

    I would say that this is a candidate for a lawsuit. The mortgage lender company giving more subprime or higher rates of payment of loans to people of African-American and Latino descent is unjust, based on the practice of customer service alone. If we give them the benefit of the doubt that the company has no political bearing, it is still a disservice to the people.

    However, suing the company, which is the nation's largest lender and employer in Central Iowa, is like demolishing the Great Wall of China. One needs an uncompromising power attorney, like the estate lawyer Ottawa we have in Canada, to make the company accountable for its bias in offering mortgage loan plans.

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