Santander disproportionately denied mortgages in low-income communities, group claims

Santander Bank disproportionately denied mortgages in low-income communities and to female and minority applicants, according to a study compiled by an advocacy group.

The report was released last week by the Committee for Better Banks, a self-described "coalition of bank workers, community and consumer advocacy groups and labor organizations coming together to improve conditions in the bank industry."

The study covers 10 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Northeast where Boston-based Santander Bank does business, including two Pennsylvania cities: Philadelphia and Reading.

The bank denied 26 percent of loan requests from Latinos, African Americans and "other borrowers of color" in 2014 in those areas, compared to an aggregate 17 percent denial rate from other banks in the same locations, the study says, citing federal Home Mortgage Lending Act data. The bank also allegedly denied loans to nearly 30 percent of low-income applicants, according to the study, whereas other banks had a denial rate of 18 percent.

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