Wells Fargo & Co. and HSBC Holdings PLC defended their lending practices on Friday after the NAACP said it was filing lawsuits accusing the two companies of "systematic, institutionalized racism" in their lending to certain borrowers.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said it would file the suits Friday morning in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The group claims that African-American homeowners were frequently steered into mortgages with higher interest rates than those offered to white borrowers with similar credit histories.

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