Seeking a trial by jury, attorneys stated in the lawsuit:
“Old National is the largest bank headquartered in Indiana and one of the twenty largest residential mortgage lenders in the Indianapolis region. (…) Old National has structured its business to avoid providing access to mortgage credit to Black residents and neighborhoods in the Indianapolis area and to discourage Black residents from seeking mortgage credit. Old National deliberately seeks to limit its residential lending business to predominantly white areas and customers and maintains policies and (…) practices that have the effect of doing so. This conduct constitutes a pattern and practice of redlining and violates the Fair Housing Act.”
Redlining, the practice of refusing someone a home loan on the basis of ethnicity, race, or religion, particularly in a primarily white area or under the guise of “financial risk,” was outlawed with the Fair Housing Act of 1968, but it hasn’t stopped racists from using other tactics to block Black people from acquiring property. In California, Black residents of the noted and affluent Sugar Hill community successfully staved off “racially restrictive covenants” for years, only to have a freeway built through their community, effectively erasing it, NPR reported.
Mark Alston, a real estate broker, told NPR while some argue that “risk-based pricing” is fair, “‘fair’ is an interesting concept” when it rides the coattails of 350 years of exclusionary zoning laws. “I could[n’t] care less about Black Lives Matter being painted on [a] basketball court,” he said. “How about an affirmative program to lower the gap between white and Black homeownership? How about actual public policy that moves the needle, for real? How about a change in employment and pay that narrows the gap, the inequities between white and black pay? How about those types of things that will make a difference for future generations?”
Old National Bank wrote in a statement obtained by The Indianapolis Star that the banking business “strongly and categorically denies the claims made by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana regarding certain lending practices.”
“Old National is committed to engaging in fair and equal lending practices,” the company continued.
Nelson told The Indianapolis Star that Old National Bank “disproportionately” closed branches in Black areas, treated Black people in tests conducted by FHCCI “less favorably” than white testers, and merged with another bank accused of redlining in 2018.
“We are calling on the Federal Reserve to do what it is required to do,” Nelson told the newspaper, “and conduct a thorough analysis and to address any disparities that is occurring to make sure that Old National’s lending practices are fair to everybody.”