2 Ohio banks agree to pay $9M to settle biased lending claim

CINCINNATI (AP) — Two affiliated Cincinnati banks have agreed to spend $9 million to settle a federal claim of biased mortgage lending in predominantly black neighborhoods.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday the settlement with Union Savings Bank and Guardian Savings Bank. The DOJ says the banks engaged in the practice of “redlining” in black neighborhoods in the Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis from at least 2010 until 2014.

The banks have agreed to invest at least $9 million in black neighborhoods in the four cities and open two full-service branches and a loan center.

The banks’ chairman said in a statement given to The Columbus Dispatch that the institutions “strongly” disagree with the DOJ’s conclusions but will provide more lending opportunities to “improve the financial futures” of individuals, families and communities.