Philadelphia homebuyers qualify for Wells Fargo settlement

Press Release
7/19/12

HARRISBURG, July 18 – Thousands of African-American and Hispanic homebuyers in the Philadelphia area who fell prey to alleged predatory lending at the hands of Wells Fargo Bank can begin to put their pocketbooks and lives back together, said state Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., after the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week a $125 million settlement with the bank.

Homebuyers who believe they are the victims of “reverse redlining,” an illegal process by which African-Americans and Hispanics were sold loans at inflated interest rates regardless of their ability to pay, should email wellsfargo.settlement@usdoj.gov.

“This settlement helps good people in Philadelphia put their money back where it rightfully belongs,” Josephs said. “It is despicable to me that we have lenders in these difficult times that would seek to steal from honest, hardworking Philadelphians through racial profiling and other shameful practices.”

As part of the agreement, $2 million will be designated for African-American and Hispanic residents of Philadelphia who originated home loans with Wells Fargo between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2009. 

The settlement also requires Wells Fargo to establish a $50 million new-homebuyer assistance fund from which qualified buyers in the Philadelphia area can receive up to $15,000 for down payments. That money is to be divided nationally in the eight cities where the DOJ found the highest incidence of the alleged scam.

Other funds will provide cash rebates for African-American and Hispanic borrowers who might have qualified for prime loans, but received nonprime rates from Wells Fargo. A federal government designee will determine and notify potentially eligible recipients.

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