A civil rights group has fired a second volley in its battle to prove that NationsBank Corp. intentionally discriminated against black mortgage applicants here.
The Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs on Friday filed a class-action suit against the Charlotte-based giant in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Mirroring a headline-grabbing fair-lending suit filed by the group in September, the latest complaint accuses NationsBank Corp. and two subsidiaries, NationsBank NA and NationsBank Mortgage Co., of treating black applicants differently from white applicants with similar incomes, debt ratios, and credit histories.
However, unlike last year's complaint, this suit questions NationsBank's use of credit scoring. It alleges a black couple was unfairly rejected for a $50,000 loan because they were erroneously given a low score under the bank's credit-scoring system. According to the suit, NationsBank claimed the low score resulted from a lack of credit cards and savings and checking accounts when the couple had a number of credit cards and a savings account at NationsBank.
The suit, which alleges nine new instances of lending discrimination, gives the Lawyers Committee another shot at winning class-action status, which could boost the potential damages paid by NationsBank into the tens of millions of dollars.
The first case was denied this distinction last month because the Lawyers Committee did not file the request on time. Verdicts in class- action suits apply to anyone with a similar claim.