One of the biggest banks in the US has agreed to pay a $175m to settle allegations it charged higher mortgage rates and fees to black and Latino customers. The payment by Wells Fargo is part of US President Barack Obama's effort to end discriminatory lending practices in the banking industry - practices that left minority neighbourhoods blighted by foreclosures after the housing bubble burst. A government investigation found tens of thousands of cases of African Americans and Hispanics being charged more than white customers with similar credit profiles. The settlement is the second-biggest of its kind; the Bank of America paid $335m over similar charges. But in both cases, the banks were allowed to deny any wrongdoing. And to add insult to injury, just a day after the settlement, Wells Fargo on Friday announced second quarter profits of $4.6bn, which is 26 times the amount it agreed to pay out. Are banks being sufficiently discouraged from wrongdoing? Joining Inside Americas to discuss this are guests: Jordan Estevao, the director of the Bank Accountability Program at National People's Action, a community direct action group; Edward Wyckoff Williams, a political analyst and former investment banker; and Richard Wolff, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Published on Jul 14, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish