Irvine, California based mortgage lender Greenlight Financial Services will pay $48,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Fair Housing Act when it denied or delayed mortgage loans to women because they were on maternity leave, according to a filing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The settlement stems from a complaint a married couple filed with HUD alleging that Greenlight, now called GFS Capital Holdings, denied their application to refinance their home since the wife was on maternity leave.
In addition, the company allegedly denied four other applicants who were on maternity leave, or delayed their applications until after the woman returned to work.
According to the Fair Housing Act, “It is unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions or privileges associated with the sale or rental of a dwelling on the basis sex, including denying a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance because a woman is pregnant or on family leave.”
As a result, Greenlight will pay $20,000 to the couple that filed the complaint and $7,000 to the other four applicants.
"The fact that an applicant is on maternity leave alone is not a valid basis for denying or delaying a refinance loan," said Bryan Greene, HUD's general deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. "HUD will continue to enforce fair housing laws to ensure that no otherwise qualified applicant is illegally denied the home financing they need only because they take maternity, paternity or parental leave."