Law | National

HUD settles complaint for couple on Turtle Mountain Reservation






The flag of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Photo from Sophie Rault / Native Flags Flying

A couple on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota has reached a settlement with a bank that refused to refinance their home.

The couple was told that their home "was not sufficient" as collateral because it was located on a reservation, according to the settlement. The couple, however, owns the property in fee simple so the bank had no valid reason to deny the mortgage.

“A person’s race and national origin have no effect on their credit worthiness,” Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a press release. “HUD will continue to work to give all families an equal opportunity at homeownership by ensuring that lenders meet their obligation to comply with the Fair Housing Act.”

As part of the settlement, U.S. Bank National Association agreed to pay the couple's U.S. Bank credit card balance of $11,489.56 and approve the couple's home mortgage refinance loan at the same interest rate and under other terms and conditions for which they originally applied, the press release stated.

U.S. Bank and one of its subsidiaries, Red Sky Risk Services, also agreed to amend their policies regarding loans on reservations to be consistent with the Fair Housing Act and to provide fair housing training for their employees.