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Case Name U.S. v. Midwest Bankcentre FH-MO-0003
Docket / Court 4:11-cv-01086 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On June 16, 2011, the United States Department of Justice filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601-3619, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1691-1691f, against the Midwest Bankcentre. The ... read more >
On June 16, 2011, the United States Department of Justice filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601-3619, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1691-1691f, against the Midwest Bankcentre. The DOJ alleged that the defendant engaged in lending discrimination on the basis of race in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The case had been referred to the Department of Justice by the Federal Reserve Bank, in St. Louis, which had found statistical signs of discrimination.

More specifically, the U.S. alleged, defendants' choice of locations for branch offices was designed to serve the banking and credit needs of residents of majority-white census tracts, but not those of residents of majority-black census tracts. Similarly, the U.S. alleged, the defendant made loans for residential real estate in predominantly white residential census tracts but avoided serving the similar credit needs of majority-black census tracts. In total, the complaint asserted, the result was illegal redlining: "defendant's policies and practices are intended to deny and discourage, or have the effect of denying or discouraging, an equal opportunity to the residents of the majority-black neighborhoods of the St. Louis MSA, on account of the racial composition of those neighborhoods, to obtain residential real estate-related loans."

In 2000, 76% of the Missouri portion of the St. Louis metro area was non-Hispanic white, and 19% was African-American; the African-American population was mostly concentrated in the northern part of the City of St. Louis and the neighboring northeastern portion of St. Louis County. But the defendants' had drawn an assessment area (as required by the Community Reinvestment Act) that excluded both majority-black areas: the northern part of St. Louis city and the northeast corner of St. Louis County. In fact, the Midwest's CRA assessment area excluded 47 of the 60 majority-black census tracts in the City of St. Louis, and drew a virtual horseshoe around the majority-black census tracts.

Settlement negotiations preceded filing in this case, and on June 28, 2011, Magistrate Judge Frederick R. Buckles approved a detailed consent decree that had been submitted simultaneously with the complaint. The consent decree contains both injunctive and monetary relief, described as "designed to expand opportunities to meet the credit needs of residents located in majority-black census tracts in the Missouri portion of the St. Louis MSA [Metropolitan Statistical Area]. Midwest will ensure that its lending products and services are made available and marketed in majority-black census tracts on no less favorable a basis than in majority-white tracts. Midwest commits itself to take all reasonable, practicable actions, consistent with safety and soundness, to increase the level of its residential lending in majority-black census tracts. with the ultimate objective that Midwest offers mortgage lending services on an equal basis as it offers such services in majority-white census tracts."

Among the injunctive measures in the decree are:
  • a general prohibition on discrimination
  • a redrawn CRA assessment area, including all of the city of St. Louis, as well as St. Louis, Jefferson, and St. Charles Counties
  • at least one new full-service branch office in a majority-black census tract, with an on-site residential mortgage officer
  • continued full-time employment of a Director of Community Development, with primary responsibilities to include overseeing the continued development of the Bank's lending in majority-black census tracts
  • continued full-time employment of a Director of Compliance, with responsibilities to include overseeing compliance with the decree itself
  • a credit needs assessment of the Missouri majority-black census tracts, to be shared with the United States
  • fair lending training, African-American outreach and advertising
  • $900,000 for a special credit program directed at the majority black census tracts, to reduce closing costs
  • $300,000 for consumer financial education and other related relief
  • $25,000 for the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council, whose complaint got the case underway.

The decree also included a variety of record retention and reporting provisions, and a sunset period of five years.

- 10/12/2012

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Provide antidiscrimination training
Bank or credit provider
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. § 1691
Defendant(s) Midwest Bankcentre
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2011 - 2016
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies The Origins of Fair Lending Litigation
Written: Dec. 04, 2008
By: Andrew Nash (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

4:11-cv-01086 (E.D. Mo.) 06/16/2011
FH-MO-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 06/16/2011
FH-MO-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree 06/28/2011
FH-MO-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Buckles, Frederick R. (E.D. Mo.) [Magistrate]
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Callahan, Richard G. (Missouri)
Holder, Eric H. Jr. (District of Columbia)
Niles, Sara Lewenberg (District of Columbia)
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
Defendant's Lawyers Mitchell, Andrea Kay (District of Columbia)
Sandler, Andrew L. (District of Columbia)
Other Lawyers None on record

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