/  07.28.2022

The Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that Trident Mortgage Co., owned by billionaire businessman Warren Buffett, purposely discriminated against Black and Latino homebuyers in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware, CNBC reports.

The department, in partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has officially agreed to a settlement with Trident. The company will now have to set $20 million aside to make loans in underserved neighborhoods. Per the DOJ, this is the second-largest redlining settlement in history.

“Trident’s unlawful redlining activity denied communities of color equal access to residential mortgages, stripped them of the opportunity to build wealth, and devalued properties in their neighborhoods,” said Kristen Clarke, an assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in an official statement.

Furthermore, the DOJ alleges that between 2015 and 2019, Trident employees made racist remarks in reference to issuing loans to Black homebuyers and referred to the affected neighborhoods as “ghetto.” Additionally, a manager for the company was pictured posing in front of a Confederate flag. 

Marketing materials used by Trident also only featured white people and nearly all of the company’s staff is white.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is currently campaigning for a shot at the governor’s seat, called Trident’s behavior “systemic racism, pure and simple.”

Since Trident stopped writing mortgages in 2020, a separate company will be contracted in order to provide the $20 million in loan subsidies. In addition to the settlement, the company has been ordered to pay a monetary fine of $4 million.

At this time, they’ve also agreed to hire mortgage loan officers in the impacted neighborhoods, which includes West Philadelphia’s Malcolm X Park. Other affected areas involve Wilmington, Delaware, and Camden, New Jersey.

In 2018, Trident was accused of racist lending practices as well as exclusively serving white clients.

 

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