Oakland sues Wells Fargo for damages from discriminatory lending practices

Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker
PHOTO/Shane Bond

OAKLAND | The city of Oakland has filed a federal lawsuit against financial institution Wells Fargo alleging its lending practices were predatory and discriminatory. The lawsuit filed by Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker Tuesday alleges Well Fargo targeted African American and Hispanic borrowers in Oakland for high risk loans even when they qualified for better rates and terms.

“Wells Fargo’s discriminatory conduct devastated individuals and communities, increasing poverty and wiping out or drastically reducing wealth for minority communities while bankers prospered,” said Parker.

“Wells Fargo and other banks knew when they issued predatory loans that many of them would result in foreclosure. None of the responsible bankers have been held personally accountable in any meaningful manner, and the leaders of these institutions earned millions of dollars generated in part by issuing toxic loans to minorities. We will not tolerate this activity and we are working with other municipalities to stop this unconscionable behavior.”

The lawsuit seeks a federal court to order Wells Fargo to stop offering predatory loans to potential borrowers and compensate the city for damages caused to residents in past years that included a severe recession. Parker added, resident’s financial loss is also Oakland’s through millions in tax revenues to the city, including lowered property taxes.