Wharton in Washington, D.C. to talk predatory lending

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton will testify today during a hearing held by the U. S. Congressional Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

The 1:00 p.m. meeting in the nation's capital is set to discuss predatory lending.

Wharton's invitation comes in connection with his role as mayor of Memphis and formerly Shelby County and the stake both local governments have in a lawsuit against Wells Fargo.

Rep. Steve Cohen serves as a member of this subcommittee.

"The discriminatory acts that once kept African-Americans from renting or owning homes in certain neighborhoods is hardly different from blatant actions from financial institutions that singled out African-Americans with noxious agreements that were rotten to the core," said Wharton. "Simply put, predatory lending is to this generation what 'no lending' to Blacks and Latinos was to a generation before."

In December 2009, attorneys representing Memphis and Shelby County filed jointly a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo under the Fair Housing Act. The initial filing alleges unlawful, irresponsible, unfair, deceptive and discriminatory mortgage lending.

Earlier this month, the city and county filed an amended complaint to the previously filed suit, highlighting the testimony of Wells Fargo employees who worked in Memphis and described how the company targeted African Americans for predatory and deceptive loans.

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