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Washington, U.S.A. — Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the senior Democratic appropriator for the U.S. Department of Justice, issued the following statement:
“Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice have achieved a major victory today in the on-going effort to hold predatory home mortgage lenders accountable. And the battle to right the wrongs of this national disgrace will continue.
“The $175 million settlement with Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest lenders, is an indication that aggressive investigation can result in justice for those victimized by patterns of discrimination on the basis of race or national origin.
“While instances of severe racial profiling and discrimination in home mortgage lending, predatory practices, misleading paperwork and hard-sell for sub-prime mortgages extend back at least to 2004, serious investigation of these allegations didn’t begin until after the Obama Administration took office in 2009.
“The Department of Justice under General Holder has confronted the mortgage foreclosure atrocity with every resource available – negotiating settlements with banks, investigating deceptive practices, and more.
“I have been urging the Department of Justice since 2009 to step up the pace of investigations, and led the fight in the House Appropriations Committee for the extra resources that have helped fund these probes.
“In addition, as a legislator who has won enactment for programs to assist distressed homeowners on the state and national level going back to the 1980s in Pennsylvania, I’m gratified that today’s beneficiaries include about 1,030 African-American homebuyers in the Philadelphia area who may have been victims of illegal predatory lending.
“And knowing General Holder as a man of character and action, I take heart that today’s settlement is simply the latest step by the professionals of the Department of Justice to protect and deliver redress for millions of preyed-upon, discriminated-against homeowners.”
Congressman Fattah is author of the Pennsylvania Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program which has helped save over 44,000 homes from foreclosure by providing loans to homeowners who lost their jobs or income through no fault of their own.
He delivered programs including the $1 billion national Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program which has saved homes for laid-off homeowners coast to coast. Fattah is the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies.
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