Central Indiana Fair Housing Center alleges discrimination by Old National Bank against Black mortgage applicants, files redlining lawsuit against lender

Regional News

INDIANAPOLIS — The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana is arguing an Indiana bank is not treating all people equally when it comes to mortgage lending. The FHCCI filed a federal complaint against Old National Bank today, alleging they broke the law by discriminating in residential mortgage lending against African Americans.

In the complaint, FHCCI accused Old National Bank of giving significantly fewer loans to Black applicants than other banks. They also claim Old National Bank aims to limit its lending business to mostly white neighborhoods and people, and the bank has deliberately removed branches in Black neighborhoods while keeping or placing them in white neighborhoods – which FHCCI asserts is redlining and violates the federal Fair Housing Act.

“They simply are not reaching Black home seekers and we certainly know there are plenty of Black home seekers out there who are interested in becoming homeowners,” Amy Nelson, FHCCI executive director, said.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area is made up of Indy, Carmel and Anderson. According to FHCCI, 305,000 Black people of a population of two million live in this area. In Marion County, more than 260,000 people are African Americans. 

FHCCI alleges Old National Bank made more than 2,250 mortgage loans in the Indianapolis MSA from 2019 to 2020. In about 91% of the loans, the borrower’s race was included.

The FHCCI asserts only 23 loans were given to Black borrowers in Marion County and only 37 to Black borrowers across all of the Indianapolis MSA. In 2019, FHCCI said Old National Bank granted merely 8 loans to African Americans throughout all of Marion County in 2019.

“It’s a low number, it’s a problematic number and when you see some of the maps that we’ve put in as to where they’re making loans,” Nelson said. “They’re making loans throughout Marion County; they just aren’t reaching African Americans and Blacks.”

FHCCI Executive Director Amy Nelson said in Marion County, nearly 15% of the four peer lenders they studied gave their loans to Black borrowers. That is nearly four times as many as Old National Bank, Nelson said.

We requested an interview with Old National Bank; instead, they sent us the statement:

Old National strongly and categorically denies the claims made by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana regarding certain lending practices. Old National is committed to engaging in fair and equal lending practices. Because this is now the subject of pending litigation, we are unable to comment further at this time.

Kathy Schoettlin, Old National Bank Spokesperson

The FHCCI includes an explanation of redlining in the area at www.youtube.com. You can also find out more information about FHCCI by contacting the office at info@fhcci.org.

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