Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeIndigenous NewsCouple on Flathead Reservation receives Rocket Mortgage discrimination settlement

Couple on Flathead Reservation receives Rocket Mortgage discrimination settlement

Nicole Girten 
Daily Montanan

A couple in St. Ignatius is slated to receive $65,000 after accusing lender Rocket Mortgage of discrimination when they were trying to buy their current home, according to an agreement released Monday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The department said the property is a single-family home owned by the couple on the Flathead Indian Reservation in St. Ignatius.

“No one seeking to purchase a home should be subjected to unlawful discrimination when applying for a home mortgage,” said Demetria McCain, HUD’s principal deputy secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity in a statement.

The mortgage lender and the company both deny the allegations of discrimination but agreed to pay an additional $30,000 towards programs to improve housing for Native Americans, as well as do outreach on their own social media platforms to educate on the company’s range of financing options on reservations for those eligible.

The couple, whose names were redacted from the published agreement, filed their complaint with the department on August 18, 2023, alleging mortgage banker Mike Gunn with Rocket Mortgage subjected them to discriminatory terms and conditions based on race.

Rocket Mortgage denied their loan application, and as a result, the couple says they had to pay a higher interest rate and accept a loan from another lender on less-favorable terms.

The U.S. Fair Housing Act forbids discrimination in housing based on disabilities, race, color, familial status (like single parents) national origin, religion and sex (including gender, gender identity, sexual orientation).

Both Gunn and Rocket Mortgage deny allegations of discrimination against the couple and entered into the settlement “solely for the purpose of obtaining closure of this matter,” according to the agreement. The company will invest at least $30,000 towards programs that improve housing conditions, consumer financial literacy and education, outreach and homeownership education or counseling for Native Americans.

Rocket Mortgage will also have to post on its website and on social media promoting the company’s broad range of financing options available to eligible applicants whose loans are secured by property located within the boundaries of Native American reservations. The posts will be published on X, formally Twitter, as well as Facebook.

People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed at hud.gov/fairhousing.

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