WASHINGTON - A Bronx-based community organization filed a protest Thursday against Marine Midland Bank, trying to block the New York bank's acquisition of six branches.
The complaint by Inner City Press/Community on the Move, filed at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, states that Marine Midland's pattern and practice of marketing, branching, and servicing upper Manhattan and the Bronx constitutes a clear violation of the Community Reinvestment Act.
Marine Midland spokesman Robert Becton disputed the charges, noting that the bank earned a "satisfactory" CRA rating from the Fed last year.
"The bank upholds stringent standards to ensure that all loan applicants are treated fairly," Mr. Becton said.
Inner City Press, however, claims that Marine Midland's mortgage company receives seven times more loan applications from white residents of the metropolitan statistical areas that encompass the Bronx than it does from Hispanics. The group also states that Marine Midland approves 83% of mortgage applications by whites but only 53% of those from Hispanics.
The group further charges that the bank's CRA map misleads die public into believing it includes only a portion of the Bronx, rather than the entire borough.
The community group asked the Fed to examine the role in the transaction of Marine Midland's parent company, HSBC Holdings, which is the party selling the branches.
Inner City Press states in the complaint that this is an effort by HSBC to shield itself from CRA reporting requirements.