On September 21, 2015, the City of Oakland, California filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking punitive damages from Wells Fargo for alleged violations under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The complaint accuses Wells Fargo of discriminatory practices by steering minority borrowers into high-cost mortgages despite being qualified for lower cost options (Reuters, 9/22/2015):

Oakland’s lawsuit accuses Wells of targeting minorities for high-cost loans even if they qualified for more affordable loans. The lawsuit said many of the loans ended in foreclosure because Wells refused to refinance them on the same terms it granted to white borrowers…

The lawsuit said Wells steered minorities into various types of “predatory loans,” including those with high interest rates, balloon payments and large prepayment penalties.

A spokesperson for Wells Fargo stated the bank will defend itself against the accusations.