THE BIG STORY
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are seeking a court order to force a northeast bank to pay $27 million to increase fair access to credit in neighborhoods where it allegedly discriminated against black and Hispanic residents.
This is CFPB’s first-ever action against so-called redlining practices and if approved by a judge, the feds will have won the largest settlement in a case of this kind in history.
CFPB and DOJ allege that Hudson City Savings Bank illegally provided unequal access to credit to residents in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania neighborhoods.
From 2009 to 2013, the bank is accused of structuring its business to avoid and discourage residents in majority black and Hispanic neighborhoods from accessing mortgages.
“Rooting out discrimination to ensure fair and equal access to credit for all qualified borrowers remains a priority for the Consumer Bureau,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a call with reporters, according to prepared remarks. “Borrowers should never be discouraged from obtaining a mortgage product because of the racial makeup of their neighborhood. That is un-American, plain and simple; it weakens our communities as well as our entire economy.”
If the approved by a judge, Hudson City will be forced to pay a $5.5 million penalty on top of $25 million in direct loan subsidies to qualified borrowers in the affected communities and $2.25 million to community programs and outreach.
TOMORROW’S REGS TODAY
The Obama administration will publish 252 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Friday’s edition of the Federal Register.
–The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will propose new requirements for wheat farmers.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is looking to authorize the field testing of genetically-engineered wheat that is under permit, the agency announced Thursday.
The agency says this will “protect plant health and the environment.”
The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1OwUQGG
–The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will issue new overtime rules for border patrol agents.
Border patrol agents will be eligible for the new overtime pay beginning in January 2016. http://bit.ly/1NX3Btr
–The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will propose new tobacco regulations.
The tobacco regulations would clarify whether a product intended for human consumption will be regulated as a drug, device or a combination product, the agency noted.
The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1KCgvpG
–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will propose new hazardous waste regulations for hospitals.
The proposed rules will address the specific issues hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare facilities face in disposing of pharmaceuticals.
The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1OwV68u
NEWS RIGHT NOW
Charges: Congress wants to know if taxpayers paid for the $1 million in personal charges Pentagon officials racked up on their government charge cards at casinos and strip clubs, The Washington Post reports. http://wapo.st/1KTbQo4
Bees: Global warming and evolution are reshaping the bodies of some American bumblebees, a new study finds, The AP reports. http://bit.ly/1KEJev9
Death penalty: Pope Francis urged lawmakers to abolish the death penalty. http://bit.ly/1NPCxLe
Labor: Pope Francis inspired Capitol workers to fight for higher wages. http://bit.ly/1PyBq1v
Guns: Pope Francis called on lawmakers to “stop the arms trade,” signaling out international weapons traffickers. http://bit.ly/1FwUkWe
Human trafficking: The Department of Justice is taking on human trafficking with a $44 million grant. http://bit.ly/1OwXkot
FTC: A federal court denied the Federal Trade Commission’s request to stop a $1.9 billion purchase of British sterilization services provider Synergy Health Plc by U.S. medical technology provider Steris Corp, Reuters reports. http://reut.rs/1R3Etj6
BY THE NUMBERS
$44 million: How much the Obama administration will spend to help communities combat human trafficking.