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M&T reaches settlement in NYC mortgage probe
     (BUFFALO, N.Y., Sep. 02, 2015) -- M&T Bank Corp. has reached a settlement in U.S. District Court, agreeing to pay $485,000 to end a probe of the company's mortgage lending policies. In addition, Buffalo-based M&T (NYSE: MTB) said it will stop using neighborhood racial demographics as part of its residential mortgage lending programs.
     The settlement was announced Aug. 31. According to a release, the bank will adopt a company-wide policy that prohibits influencing customers' real estate decisions, post a revised fair lending policy to its website and hire a consultant to revise fair lending training for loan offices and other bank employees. The bank will also enhance the loan information it provides in the greater New York City area. FULL STORY at bizjournals.com

DOJ settles race and familial status FHA discrimination case for $75,000
     (WASHINGTON, Sep. 01, 2015) -- The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced yet another Fair Housing Act (FHA) case settlement yesterday. In this case, the DOJ alleged that the owners and managers of a mobile home park in Illinois had discriminated against families with children and African Americans. To resolve the complaint, among other relief, the defendants agreed to pay a total $75,000 to settle allegations that they violated the FHA.
     The agreement concluded a lawsuit asserting that the mobile home park violated the FHA by refusing to rent homes to African Americans and families with children. The factual allegations which made up the complaint were based on the results of testing conducted by DOJ’s fair housing testing program. Testing, of course, is a simulation of a housing transaction that compares responses given by housing providers to different types of applicants to probe whether discrimination may be taking place.
     Now, I am not a fan of testing such as this because the tester is being paid not to tell the truth and sometimes make assertions not backed up by the facts. FULL STORY at fairhousing.foxrothschild.com

ACLU of Arizona sues city of surprise over an ordinance that's pretty terrible to domestic violence victims
     (TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 28, 2015) -- The City of Surprise has this ordinance in place that allows a landlord to evict tenants who place calls to the police more than four times in 30 days, and there are no exceptions if the tenant is the victim of said crime. Well, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona have decided to challenge that rule on behalf of a domestic violence survivor.
     Nancy Markham was a victim of "repeated domestic violence" who "needed to contact and rely on the Surprise police for protection and assistance at her rental home. In response, Defendants sought Ms. Markham’s eviction," the lawsuit, filed Thursday, says. Markham is a single mother of two children.
     Between March and September of last year, Markham’s ex-boyfriend choked her, punched her, and threatened her with weapons. A Surprise police officer then enforced the nuisance ordinance by notifying her landlord about the police calls and encouraged her eviction, the ACLU argues. "In September 2014, the property manager of Markham’s apartment notified her that she would be evicted for having violated the law, even though the police never mentioned the law to Markham during any of her calls," the press release says. FULL STORY at tucsonweekly.com

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