Houston Chronicle: NAACP sues Capital One Bank, alleging discrimination in banking services

Houston Chronicle, March 1, 2018: NAACP sues Capital One Bank, alleging discrimination in banking services

Two Houston civil rights groups have sued the financial services company Capital One, alleging that it has discriminated against blacks and Latinos by closing more than half its banking offices in minority neighborhoods while adding them in areas that are predominantly white.

The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Houston by the local chapters of the NAACP and LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, alleges that Capital One violated federal fair housing and credit laws, relegating minority customers to “debit-card-bankers-only” who can only deposit and withdraw funds in limited service branches while reserving full service banking offerings, including mortgages and other lending, for the bank’s white customers.

The lawsuit comes as federal regulators focus on stamping out efforts of some banks to carve up communities into desirable and undesirable neighborhoods, a practice known as redlining that has traditionally revolved around race. Often the lack of banking services means that poor and minorities are forced to pay fees to check cashing operations or exorbitant interest rates to payday and title lenders.

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