Magazine article American Banker

NationsBank Launches Counterattack in Suit on Loan Discrimination

Magazine article American Banker

NationsBank Launches Counterattack in Suit on Loan Discrimination

Article excerpt

Seizing the offensive in its fair-lending dispute, NationsBank Corp. told a federal judge Monday that a civil rights group twisted the facts to concoct a case against the bank.

It asked the court to dismiss several of the charges, and it "adamantly" denied the remaining claims.

"The pleadings filed today speak for themselves and are entirely consistent with NationsBank's stated position that the lawsuit is without merit," said Andrew Sandler, the bank's lawyer, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

The Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs sued NationsBank Sept. 22, charging that it rejected 12 home mortgage applicants because of their race. The committee asked the court for class-action status for the suit, which would make this the largest fair-lending case ever.

NationsBank, in an unusually detailed response, said the charges were bogus. It said the lawyers committee used misleading statistics and solicited plaintiffs through a toll-free number.

"The amended complaint seeks to obfuscate and distort NationsBank's outstanding record of lending to African-Americans," the bank said.

John P. Relman, the director of the fair-housing project at the lawyers committee, was out of the office and could not be reached for comment. Richard Ritter, a former federal prosecutor who has worked on the case, did not return a call for comment.

NationsBank denied discriminating against any of the 12 plaintiffs. It said these applicants all sought to finance at least 95% of the sales price. …

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