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Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump Files Class Action Discrimination Lawsuit Against Navy Federal Credit Union

Attorney Ben Crump filed a class action lawsuit against Navy Federal Credit Union accusing it of racial discrimination

Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the U.S., is facing a class action lawsuit accusing it of racial discrimination in its home mortgage practices.

BET reported Civil Rights Attorneys Benjamin Crump and Adam Levitt filed the class action suit Sunday in federal court in Virginia on behalf of Cherelle Jacob, a 40-year-old Black resident of Washington state, and her husband, who is in the armed services; and Laquita Oliver, a 44-year-old Black resident of Miami-Dade County, Florida, who works as a capital improvement project analyst.

The women say Navy Federal rejected their home loan applications despite having great credit and six-figure incomes. 

According to the lawsuit, Navy Federal violated the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The lawsuit cited a report from CNN, published earlier this month, that stated Navy Federal, which lends to military service members, defense personnel, veterans, and their families, approved more than 75% of the white borrowers who applied for a new conventional home purchase mortgage in 2022, according to the most recent data available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However, less than 50% of Black borrowers who applied for the same type of loan were approved.

“When describing its corporate values, Navy Federal claims that it ‘champions community,’ and that it is ‘dedicated…to embracing and celebrating diversity and inclusion in all the communities’ it serves,” the complaint states. “But Navy Federal’s claims of community support are meaningless in the face of its actions: systematic discrimination in housing, in violation of federal law.”

CNN’s investigation revealed a nearly 30% gap between Navy Federal’s home mortgage approval rate between white and Black members. 

“The outright discrimination that occurs when Banking While Black continues to reveal itself in the lending practices of many of America’s largest financial institutions,” Crump stated in the complaint. “It is shameful that Navy Federal, an organization that prides itself in helping the families of men and women who served their country, does not give their Black and Latino customers the same opportunities as White customers.”

Navy Federal isn’t the first financial institution Crump has filed a class action lawsuit against. In May, Crump and former Los Angeles Mayor Willie Brown filed a class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo, accusing it of denying loans to minority applicants at an “unprecedented rate” during the COVID-19 pandemic when interest rates dropped to historic lows. The case is still pending.

Navy Federal responded to the class-action suit and in a press release. They said they are treating the allegations very seriously, and have retained leading civil rights lawyer, Debo P. Adegbile, former commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and his team, to assess its mortgage- lending policies and practices and make recommendations to drive further access to home ownership.

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