NEW YORK, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Regional New York bank Evans Bancorp was accused of illegally discriminating against African-Americans in Buffalo by denying them mortgages in a lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general on Tuesday.
According to the lawsuit, Evans Bank deliberately disqualified African-Americans from its mortgage products regardless of their creditworthiness in a practice known as redlining.
Eric Schneiderman, the state’s attorney general, said the bank produced maps outlining its “Trade Area” that excluded predominantly African-American neighborhoods on the eastern side of Buffalo, one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States.
Evans Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment. David Nasca, the bank’s president and chief executive, was quoted by the New York Times denying the allegations on Tuesday.
The lawsuit was the first to come out of a broader ongoing investigation by Schneiderman’s office into redlining by New York banks in the wake of the financial collapse of 2008.
The lawsuit accuses Evans Bank of using redlining practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, a federal law, since at least 2009. It calls for a jury trial, and for the court to order the bank to change its practices and pay a fine.
The bank was founded in 1920 and has its headquarters in Buffalo, according to its website.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Cynthia Osterman