The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Tuesday accused Wells Fargo, N.A., of engaging in predatory lending practices in primarily African American neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
In a complaint, the panel said that since 2004, Wells Fargo had engaged in lending practices contributing to the "disproportionately large number of foreclosures" in these neighborhoods.
The complaint said Wells Fargo's "predatory practices" included charging excessive fees as well as high interest rates "not justified by the borrowers' creditworthiness."
Other predatory practices included requiring large prepayment penalties and convincing borrowers to refinance into new loans that only benefited Wells Fargo.
The panel cited data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act showing that between 2004 and 2008, twice to three times as many African Americans as whites were approved for loans at least 3 percentage points above the federal benchmark.