AG: Buffalo Bank Not Lending To Blacks

ALBANY (AP) -

A Buffalo bank without branches in a section of the city where African-Americans live intentionally refused to offer mortgages to blacks, accused New York’s attorney general in a lawsuit.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claimed in a federal lawsuit that Evans Bank violated fair housing and discrimination laws by deliberately denying services and products to Buffalo’s east side, home to more than 75 percent of the city’s African-American population.

The bank’s president, David Nasca, called the accusations “meritless.” He said Evans, which has 13 branches in western New York, will vigorously defend itself.

“We remain confident that our residential lending practices meet all applicable laws and regulations,” Nasca said.

The lawsuit alleges that Evans used a map to define its lending area that excluded the city’s east side. The company is also accused of refusing to market its loan products or locate its branches in the area.

Schneiderman, who faces a tough reelection battle against Republican John Cahill in November, said the lawsuit is part of a wider investigation by his office into redlining, in which a lender denies access to mortgages or charges more in certain neighborhoods based on race.