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U.S. Bank accused of letting foreclosed homes rot in minority areas

Foreclosure is both a personal and societal crisis. Obviously, losing the family home can be a terrible blow to a household. When a region undergoes a wave a foreclosures, such as the one continuing to affect Florida, it can have a negative impact on the economy, as well as property values on homes that were not foreclosed upon.

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, several big banks have faced criminal investigations over their conduct. In one of the most recent cases, a national fair housing organization has accused U.S. Bank of practicing racial discrimination in the way it has maintained its pool of foreclosed properties.

When a bank gains possession of a home after foreclosure, they become responsible for that property’s upkeep and repairs. But the National Fair Housing Alliance says that a study on foreclosed properties in one area reveals that U.S. Bank does not keep its foreclosed homes in communities of color in decent shape to the same extent it does in other neighborhoods.

The group examined 28 properties in the Twin Cities currently owned by U.S. Bank. It found that properties in neighborhoods with a large proportion of people of color tended to have trash in the yards, overgrown lawns and broken doors or windows.

The president of the organization noted that the disrepair could only have been due to long-term neglect. “Lawns don’t grow eight inches in a week,” she said.

U.S. Bank denied that it ignores its properties in minority neighborhoods. It attacked the NFHA’s research, without specifically refuting it.

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