Department of Justice Announces Action to Resolve Lending Discrimination Claims Against Evolve Bank & Trust Settlement Provides $1.3 Million to Compensate Affected Borrowers | USAO-WDTN

Memphis, TN – The Department of Justice announced today that it has secured an agreement to resolve
allegations that Evolve Bank & Trust, headquartered in Memphis, made loans
discrimination based on race, sex and national origin in the pricing of one’s accommodation
mortgage loans from at least 2014 to 2019.

Evolve Bank maintains mortgage offices and provides mortgage services in 15 states
Across the country. Under departmental regulations, which are subject to the approval of the
District Court, Evolve Bank to Establish $1.3 Million Settlement Fund to Compensate People
borrowers. Evolve Bank will also pay a civil penalty of $50,000.

“This settlement will provide much-deserved relief to thousands of discriminated borrowers
due to Evolve Bank’s pricing policies,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the
Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. “This case marks the final step for the Department of Justice
to protect Americans from illegal lending practices and shows we will hold lenders accountable
for the effects of their discriminatory practices.

“This settlement provides some measure of justice to those who have been harmed by Evolve Bank’s discriminatory behavior
acts,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee. “I also hope that he
sends a strong message to banks and other lenders that the Department of Justice will not defend
illegal barriers to residential mortgage lending. It is high time that these practices stop.

The department opened its investigation after the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
referred the case. In accordance with federal law, the Commission has long
referred matters involving potential Fair Lending violations to the Department of Justice.

According to the complaint, the Department of Justice alleges that Evolve Bank violated the Fair
Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibit financial institutions from
discrimination based on race, gender or national origin in their mortgage lending services.
Specifically, the complaint alleges that, from at least 2014 through 2019, Evolve Bank’s loan
pricing practices have led black, Hispanic and female borrowers to pay more in the
“discretionary pricing” components of home loans than white or male borrowers for reasons
irrelevant to their creditworthiness. “Discretionary Pricing” means the portions of the price of a loan that
are at the discretion of Evolve’s loan officers and managers, including any fees, charges or rate discounts that
do not relate to the credit qualifications of the borrowers or the characteristics of the loan.

Since being made aware of the Ministry’s investigation into this matter, Evolve has taken steps to
revise its policies and practices that have caused black, Hispanic and female borrowers to pay more
for home loans than white or male borrowers. During the four-year term of the proposed consent
order, Evolve will maintain policies that reduce loan officer discretion, employ fair lending
manager who will work in close consultation with bank management and provide fair lending
training for its staff.

The Department’s Civil Rights Division has long been engaged in work to make mortgages
credit and home ownership accessible to all Americans on the same terms, regardless of race, sex or
national origin. In January 2021, President Biden reaffirmed the essential role of the federal government
government to address the legacy of segregation and discrimination in housing, stating that it is
administration’s policy of eliminating “racial prejudice and other forms of discrimination in
all stages of buying and renting a home.

Justice Department’s enforcement of Fair Lending Laws is conducted by Civil Rights
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Division. Additional information on the Section fair
the application of the loans can be viewed on the Department of Justice webpage. Individuals can declare having lent
discrimination by calling the Department of Justice’s Housing Discrimination Information Line at
1-833-591-0291 or submit a report online.

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For more information, please contact Public Information Officer Cherri Green at (901) 544-4231 or
[email protected] Follow @WDTNNews on Twitter for office news and updates.