The state Department of Financial Institutions on Thursday announced it had reached a settlement in a consumer protection case regarding Countrywide Home Loans. The case has been ongoing for more than two years, the department said in a release.
On June 23, 2008, DFI filed a statement of charges against Countrywide alleging the company was discriminating against ethnic and racially protected classes by offering loan products that were less favorable than those offered to non-protected classes.
The Department said it conducted more than 2,400 hours of examination and investigation to determine the extent of the problem. DFI examiners evaluated more than 30,000 loans, and discovered more than 100 alleged victims of predatory pricing based upon comparisons with statistically significant control group members.
In the settlement, DFI identified 123 victims of alleged discriminatory pricing. Each of these Washington residents will receive a settlement ranging from $997 to $26,176. The amount received depends upon the type of loan, the number of predatory features in the loan and whether or not the consumer was foreclosed upon. The full $650,000 settlement is being dispersed to the affected consumers. DFI is not retaining any of the settlement.
DFI Director Scott Jarvis stated, “While Countrywide disagreed strenuously with DFI’s allegations, DFI’s staff steadfastly pursued restitution for consumers – and now, nearly two years later, the case is finally settled.”
In the agreement, Countrywide made no admission of any wrongdoing.
To view the consent order, visit dfi.wa.gov/cs%20orders/countrywide-consent.pdf.