December 3, 2016
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Company Required Better Credit From Immigrants

 INDIANAPOLIS -  The Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Jamal Smith, has issued a charge of discrimination against Freedom Mortgage of Fishers, asserting that the company’s policy requiring permanent resident aliens to have a higher credit score than applicants born in the U.S. to qualify for VA and FHA loans is in violation of the Indiana Fair Housing Act.  The complainants, a married couple, who brought their claims to the Commission for investigation, had been approved for a loan, until they were asked whether they were U.S. citizens.  At which time, the loan officer was informed that the wife was a citizen and the husband was a permanent resident alien who has resided in the U.S. since he was a child.  While both had credit scores above the minimum for those born in the U.S., they were denied the mortgage loan because the husband’s score fell below the 640 required of permanent resident aliens.  The Indiana Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the provision of home loans on the basis of a person’s national origin.  While the Fair Housing Act does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship, the Commission will argue that such a policy has the effect of excluding individuals born outside of the U.S., especially those born in Mexico.  Policies having such a “disparate impact” have been found to violate civil rights laws.  Freedom Mortgage has chosen to have these claims heard in Hamilton County Superior Court.

 



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