HUD, UTAH MORTGAGE COMPANY SETTLE
PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION CLAIM Baltimore family denied approval based on maternity leave status
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a Conciliation Agreement with Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. (PRMI), in Salt Lake City, UT, settling allegations that the lender denied a Baltimore, Maryland woman a mortgage loan because she was pregnant and on maternity leave.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, or disability. Refusing to approve a mortgage loan or to provide refinancing because a woman is pregnant or on maternity leave violates the Fair Housing Act’s prohibitions against sex and familial status discrimination.
“Lenders have many legitimate business related reasons to deny a mortgage loan, but a woman’s maternity status is not one of them,” stated John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take action against lenders who refuse to make loans to otherwise qualified women merely because they are pregnant or on maternity leave."
The woman, who applied for the loan in her name, and her husband filed a complaint with HUD alleging discrimination after one of PRMI’s loan officers told her that she was a “good risk” and that the lender would be willing to finance her loan, but only after she returned to work. After being unable to get a loan from PRMI, the woman and her husband applied for a loan with another lender and were approved.
Under the terms of the agreement, PRMI will pay the woman $13,000 and adopt a parental leave policy with respect to loan applications to ensure compliance with the fair lending requirements of the Fair Housing Act. In addition, PRMI’s loan officers, processors, underwriters and decision makers will be trained on the Act and the new policy. The Parental Leave Policy applies to men as well as women who are on parental leave due to the birth or adoption of a child and prohibits inquiries concerning a person's future parental leave plans.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
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