A Pennsylvania mortgage company owned by Warren Buffet discriminated against potential Black and Latino homebuyers in multiple states by intentionally denying them access to lending services, the U.S. Justice Department reports.
On Wednesday (July 27), the Justice Department said Trident Mortgage Co., a division of Berkshire Hathaway, deliberately avoided writing mortgages in communities of color in West Philadelphia; Camden, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware, per the Associated Press.
“Trident’s unlawful redlining activity denied communities of color equal access to residential mortgages, stripped them of the opportunity to build wealth, and devalued properties in their neighborhoods,” said Kristen Clarke, an assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in a statement.
The alleged redlining activity occurred between 2015 and 2019. Trident stopped writing mortgages in 2020.
Along with avoiding providing lending services in minority neighborhoods, Trident employees allegedly made racist remarks about making loans to Black homebuyers, calling certain communities “ghettos.”
A Trident manager was also pictured posing in front of a Confederate flag. Advertisements for the mortgage company featured only white individuals, and almost all of its staff were white, the DOJ said.
As a result of the findings, Trident has agreed to set aside $20 million to provide loans in underserved neighborhoods in what is being called the second-largest redlining settlement in DOJ history.
Redlining is a term used to describe when banks intentionally avoid making loans to non-white communities.
The practice, which began with banks drawing red lines on maps to distinguish neighborhoods that they considered undesirable to make home loans, cut off entire communities of color from building wealth in U.S. homeownership.
To this day, Black and Latino people are far less likely to own a home compared to their white counterparts due in part to redlining practices.
Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, called Trident's actions “systematic racism, pure and simple.”