Allegations of racism and redlining at one of the country’s biggest banks. A former employee claims U.S. Bank denied minorities auto loans.
According to CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov, the charges were laid out in a federal civil lawsuit filed Friday.
Fifty-five-year-old John Span spent 24 years at U.S. Bank, his last job as an auto loan underwriter. Co-workers started making racist remarks years ago. One used the n-word and claims his manager stopped by every Friday and said:
“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 raised concerns with supervisors without success. When a new manager took over in 2018, Span said he became a target. Both for his age and for being black.
“I was set up,” Span said.
Set up and fired a year ago. Now, Span is suing U.S. Bank. However, his claims go beyond discrimination. Span’s manager at the bank is accused of setting him up to fail by setting up and giving him a car dealership territory encompassing Chicago’s South Side and suburbs, whose residents are mostly minorities.
“They institutionally created a system and allowed the management of this group to create a system that allowed other underwriters across the Chicagoland area and across the country to avoid approving loans to minorities,” said Span’s attorney Haskell Garfinkel.
The practice is known as redlining. Co-workers have also told Span that they refuse to approve loans due to an applicant’s last name, despite a good credit score.
“If the name sounded Hispanic or if the name sounded Muslim, they would turn that deal down or wouldn’t even look at that deal,” Span said.
“Until get into the details of the trial, it is going to be almost impossible to quantify how big it really was,” Garfinkel said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new measures aimed at cracking down on redlining in October. U.S. Bank says it takes these accusations very seriously and does not condone any type of discrimination. However, the bank has not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment further.