Supporting one of the Justice Department's largest rebukes of predatory lenders, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-2) called a $175 million settlement a significant win.
“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," the congressman said in a 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."
Wells Fargo has several Lower Merion branches:
Because of redistricting last winter, the 2nd District Fattah represents will include Lower Merion and Narberth after the coming congressional election and swearing-in.
The bank agreed July 12 to spend $175 million and settle federal accusations that it "steered black and Latino borrowers into high-cost loans and charged them excessive fees," according to The Washington Post.
The case was mostly based in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas where the Justice Department said 4,500 black and Hispanic Wells Fargo homeowners were targeted for unfavorable loans or what the government called a “racial surtax.”
Fattah said he's called on the Justice Department to step up its investigations since 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," Fattah said.
Wells Fargo denied any wrongdoing and stated it entered into the settlement to "avoid contest litigation," according to the court settlement.
"Wells Fargo not only denies that it discriminated unlawfully, but affirmatively asserts that it has treated all of its customers without regard to race or national origin..."
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described Lower Merion and Narberth as having already been added to the 2nd Congressional District.