Justice Dept. Seeks Victims in Countrywide Settlement

December 29, 2011

On the heels of a landmark $335 million fair-lending settlement with Countywide, the Justice Department is trying to find more than 200,000 alleged victims so they can be fairly compensated. 

"It's going to be really difficult to find those families," Janis Bowdler, a policy director at National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil-rights group, told The Wall Street Journal.

The victim-borrowers who had used Countrywide’s services lost their homes to foreclosure and may have relocated several times, making it difficult to track them down. 

The record-breaking settlement recently announced stemmed over charges that Countrywide Financial, now owned by Bank of America, discriminated against Hispanic- and African-American borrowers from 2004 to 2008. Countywide was accused of steering minority borrowers to risky subprime loans when the borrowers qualified for safer, less risky loan terms as well as charging minority borrowers higher fees and rates than white borrowers with similar credit histories.  

Countrywide has denied the Justice Department’s allegations and any wrongdoing. 

Source: “Alleged Victims Sought in U.S. Countrywide Case,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 28, 2011)

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