CHICAGO (CBS) – Only the 2:
Charges of racism and red line at one of the largest banks in the country. A former employee claims that the US bank has often refused to grant car loans to minorities.
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CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov reports that the charges were laid in a federal civil lawsuit filed on Friday.
John Span, 55, spent 24 years at the US Bank, his last job as an auto loan underwriter. He said the racist comments from his colleagues started years ago. One of them used the n word and claims that a manager stopped by his office every Friday with this comment:
“Don’t beat your wife. And don’t go to jail.
Dana Kozlov: And you were the only black underwriter?
John Span: The only black underwriter. Period.
Span said he voiced his concerns to supervisors to no avail. Then, when a new manager took over in 2018, Span said he had become a target. Because of his age and because he’s black.
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“I was set up,” Span said.
Installed and licensed a year ago. Now Span is suing US Bank. But his claims go beyond discrimination. The federal lawsuit accuses Span’s bank manager of causing it to fail by creating and giving it car dealership territory encompassing the south side and suburbs of Chicago, mostly minority communities.
“They institutionally created a system and allowed the leadership of this group to create a system that allowed other underwriters in the Chicagoland area and across the country to avoid approving minority loans,” Span’s lawyer Haskell Garfinkel said.
This is a practice known as redlining. Span said co-workers have also told him that they often refuse to approve loans because of an applicant’s last name, despite having a good credit rating.
“If the name sounded Hispanic or the name sounded Muslim, they would either refuse this deal or not even look at this deal,” Span said.
“Until you get into the details of the trial, it will be almost impossible to quantify its true scale,” Garfinkel said.
In October, US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new measures to tackle redlining. A spokesperson for the US bank said it takes the accusations very seriously and does not tolerate any type of discrimination. But the bank has not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment further.
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