News Release 2021-87 | August 30, 2021

WASHINGTON—Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu today released the following statement upon announcement of an enforcement action against Cadence Bank, N.A., Atlanta, for violations of the Fair Housing Act.

Promoting fairness and inclusion in banking is a fundamental part of the OCC’s mission, and one of my four priorities as Acting Comptroller of the Currency. Today’s action against Cadence Bank for redlining demonstrates the agency’s and my personal commitment to ensuring that all of our regulated institutions provide fair access to financial services for all customers.

There is no place for discrimination in the federal banking system. The OCC will use the full force of our authority to correct fair lending violations with our supervisory and enforcement tools, including civil money penalties, cease and desist orders, and requiring restitution for customers harmed as a result of any discriminatory practices.

The OCC will continue to refer fair housing violations to the Department of Justice and act independently to hold banks accountable for compliance with fair lending and other consumer protection laws.

The OCC found that Cadence Bank denied residents in majority Hispanic and majority minority neighborhoods in Houston equal access to mortgage loans. This disparate treatment was evidenced through the bank’s pattern of mortgage application and origination activity, branching history, mortgage loan officer structure and operations, and marketing and advertising. Based on these findings, the OCC determined that the bank violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a), (b), and 3605(a); and its implementing regulation, 24 C.F.R. §§ 100.120 and 100.50.

The $3 million civil money penalty (CMP) will be paid to the U.S. Treasury.

The OCC’s action is based on an examination that focused on the bank’s lending activities from 2014 to 2016. The CMP action by the OCC is separate from, but coordinated with, the settlement between the bank and the Department of Justice, which is also being announced today.

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