Posted on January 4, 2013

Holder Brags About Burning 3,000 Bankers at the Stake

Paul Sperry, Investor’s Business Daily, January 2, 2012

In an end-of-year press release — posted under the banner headline “Accomplishments Under the Leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder” — the Justice Department boasts of charging “nearly 3,000” bankers with lending discrimination and fraud.

If all of them were guilty, this would be quite an accomplishment. {snip}

But none of the race-bias cases highlighted by the administration was litigated in court. Evidence was never presented or tested, nor guilt ever proven. What’s more, no incident of discrimination was ever specified, and no individual complainants or victims of discrimination were ever identified.

All the major defendants — Bank of America, Wells Fargo and SunTrust Mortgage — settled while strongly denying Holder’s allegations that they charged blacks and Latinos a “racial surcharge” for mortgages simply because of the color of their skin.

In court documents, they argued that if Holder’s civil-rights prosecutors conducted an “appropriate analysis” of their loan data and loan-file documentation, it would have shown no disparate impact in product placement against African-Americans or Hispanics. They argued that any differences in loan pricing were attributable to legitimate, nondiscriminatory factors, such as poor credit.

When one defendant recently fought back in court, the administration admitted in a little-noticed court filing that, indeed, it had not considered all the credit factors that went into the lender’s decisions to charge higher rates for loans to minorities whose credit history left them unqualified for prime loans.

GFI Mortgage Bankers Inc. last summer asked a federal judge to dismiss a lending discrimination complaint filed by Holder. The New York-based lender argued that the government failed to establish a link between its policies and lending disparities outlined in the suit.

When Justice opposed GFI’s motion, it revealed a serious flaw in its “statistical regression analyses” used in almost every race-bias case filed against lenders under this administration.

It acknowledged that its models do not account for all factors related to borrowers’ credit risk and loan characteristics — factors that could explain disparities in loan pricing by race.

In the court filing, Justice Department official Thomas Perez, chief of the civil-rights division, said the sum total of the government’s proof was “statistical evidence” that did not include all elements of creditworthiness. But he argued that the government did not need to control “all measurable variables” to prove discrimination, that it “need not prove discrimination with scientific certainty.”

In other words, Holders’ diversity police relied on incomplete statistics as evidence to prove intentional discrimination. {snip}

GFI’s attorney Andrew Sandler complained that Justice has been using an overly broad and “now discredited interpretation” of civil-rights law known as “disparate impact.” But GFI happened to draw an Obama-appointed judge to hear its motion to dismiss what looked to be groundless charges against it.

With that judicial leaning in mind, GFI agreed to settle the case. It will fork over more than $3.5 million to as-yet unidentified black and Latino victims of alleged mortgage discrimination and also “qualified organization(s) that provide programs targeted at African-Americans and Hispanic potential and former homeowners.”

It also agrees to implement over the next 4-1/2 years a “fair lending monitoring program” to make management and its employees more sensitive to the “credit needs” of the minority community.