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Civil Rights Groups: Banks Discriminate Against Pr. George's Residents

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Civil rights groups examined eight banks and say they found racial discrimination is occurring even though it's illegal under the Fair Housing Act. They examined foreclosed properties in the heavily African-American Prince George's County and its neighbor, Montgomery County.

"These foreclosures did not come about because people were irresponsible," says Shanna Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. "They came about because subprime loans and predatory loans were strongly marketed to the African-American homeowners who were looking to refinance as well as new people in the home buying market."

Smith also says they found foreclosed properties are being taken care of better in white areas, which has negative consequences for African-American neighborhoods.

"It's reducing the tax revenue in the communities where the homes are not maintained. When you reduce tax revenue you harm the cities school funding, you harm city services," Smith says.

The study examined eight banks, but their names weren't released publicly.


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