The Department of Justice filed a lending discrimination case against New York-based GFI Mortgage Bankers, claiming the lender violated fair lending laws by charging minority borrowers higher interest rates on mortgages when compared to other borrowers with similar credit profiles.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York accused the firm of charging African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher interest rates, violating the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
The DOJ asserted that white borrowers in similarly-situated situations obtained different mortgage rates. GFI Mortgage Bankers could not be immediately reached for comment early Tuesday morning.
U.S. Attorneys claim from 2005 to 2009, GFI charged minority borrowers excessive rates, with the average African-American borrower paying an average of $7,500 more in the first four years when compared to similarly-situated white borrowers. For Hispanic borrowers, the difference was approximately $5,600 or more.
"The disparities, based on race or national origin, are statistically significant, and are unrelated to credit risk or loan characteristic," the DOJ claimed in a press release.
GFI Mortgage Bankers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.