NFHA Accuses Bank of America of REO Neglect

NFHA Accuses Bank of America of REO Neglect

09/25/2013 BY: HUGH MOORE

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) held a press conference Wednesday announcing that it will file a new complaint with HUD accusing Bank of America of ongoing neglect of REO properties in minority neighborhoods, which the NFHA says would be in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The NFHA added five new cities to the complaint – Memphis, Denver, Las Vegas, Tuscon, and Philadelphia – bringing the total to 18 metropolitan areas.

Bank of America Senior Vice President Dan Frahm responded that NFHA had not contacted Bank of America about the properties mentioned Wednesday, and if they had Bank of America would have helped to ensure the accuracy of their information.

“Bank of America applies uniform practices to the management and marketing of vacant bank-owned properties across the U.S., regardless of their location. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue,” Frahm said. “Previous claims by NFHA revealed numerous, material flaws in their methodology and how they represented that information publicly. The majority of properties NFHA faulted us for were, in fact, the responsibility of other entities to maintain and market, didn’t take into account the property condition at the time we were granted authority to maintain it, and included properties the bank had agreed to donate to local groups in their existing condition.”

Shannah Smith, president and CEO of NFHA, said that Bank of America’s policies allow home prices to deteriorate to the point that investors can buy them at a discount.

“Every day Bank of America continues to neglect homes it owns in communities of color and prices decline, allowing investors to snatch up these foreclosures, turning communities into neighborhoods of absentee landlords,” Smith said. “Bank of America is the second largest commercial bank in the United States and it has been on notice of these problems since 2009. And yet, Bank of America chooses to ignore its responsibility to maintain and market foreclosures regardless of the racial or ethnic makeup of the community.”

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