GFI Moves to Dismiss DOJ Fair Lending Suit

center_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing “”GFI Mortgage Bankers””:http://gfimortgage.com/ filed a motion Friday to dismiss a suit from the “”Justice Department””:http://www.justice.gov/ that alleged discrimination in GFI’s lending practices.[IMAGE]GFI’s motion asserts that the disparate impact discrimination statutes cited by the Justice Department in its suit-the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)-do not contain language that permits anti-discrimination claims. The company also argues that the practice of allowing employees discretion when pricing loans is standard policy and widely accepted in the industry.The federal suit, filed in April, alleges that GFI has violated fair lending laws by charging African-American and Hispanic [COLUMN_BREAK]borrowers higher interest rates and fees on home mortgage loans because of race or national origin. In an April statement, the Justice Department alleged that white borrowers in similar credit situations paid thousands of dollars less.Furthermore, the release alleged that GFI loan officers received a percentage of the profits generated on each loan, creating incentive for employees to charge fees in a way that was unrelated to credit risk or loan characteristics. GFI also neglected to train or supervise its loan officers to ensure that loan pricing was fair, the agency said.””Charging people more for home loans simply because of their race or national origin – as we have alleged in our complaint against GFI – is illegal. The Justice Department will act aggressively to ensure that all people have equal access to credit and a level playing field,”” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division. “”For that reason, vigorous enforcement of fair lending laws remains a top priority.””GFI defended its practices, saying the lawsuit is unmerited and potentially sets a dangerous precedent. “”This lawsuit advances very aggressive and untested enforcement theories,”” said Andrew L. Sandler, lead defense counsel for GFI. “”We look forward to the opportunity to challenge the Justice Department’s flawed legal theories and factual allegations in a courtroom, rather than continuing to see the agency’s advance these theories on an uncontested basis solely through settlements and press releases,”” he added.last_img read more