Major Financial Institutions Could Be To Blame For Florida Foreclosures
As if the American population wasn’t skeptical enough of big financial institutions, a lawsuit has recently been filed by the City of Miami against JPMorgan Chase & Co. for practicing discriminatory lending practices. According to the Miami lawsuit, JPMorgan violated the Fair Housing Act by issuing bad loans to certain minority groups which led to an astonishing number of foreclosures in the area–it is certainly more than just a coincidence that a majority of the foreclosures happened in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Sadly, the residents of Florida are well-accustomed to these events; in October, Florida had the highest foreclosure rate in the country.
It seems that Amy Bonitatibus, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan, believes that the City of Miami is trying to pin down JPMorgan as a scapegoat for the city’s financial crisis and is using the media from the lawsuit “to address unrelated city finances impacted by the record economic downturn.”
However, it appears that JPMorgan is not the only major financial institution having some legal troubles relating to loan lending. Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co. are all facing charges that claim the institutions promoted discriminatory practices toward members of certain ethnic groups who were seeking loans.
What Does This Mean For Residents?
A law recently passed in Florida allowing for fast-track foreclosures, meaning that banks must expedite the process by which they prosecute foreclosures. It also means that a homeowner threatened with foreclosure has a very short time period of 20-45 days to file for lawsuit against the foreclosure. If a homeowner does not file a lawsuit within this period, the court can make a final decision regarding the pending foreclosure.
The combined fast-track foreclosure law and the alleged discriminatory lending practices of financial institutions could leave hundreds, if not thousands, of Floridian residents without a home.