WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement with a group of California mortgage lenders to resolve allegations they discriminated against a mortgage applicant based on his national origin. The complainant alleged that American Financial Network of Brea, California; Benchmark Communities of Fresno; Brigantino Enterprise of Hollister; and an employee of Benchmark Communities failed to prequalify him to purchase a home in Hollister because he is Hispanic. Read the Conciliation Agreement.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental, sales or home lending transactions based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, sex, familial status or disability.

“Where a person comes from should not impact their ability to purchase a home,” said Bryan Greene, HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s action reflects our nation’s promise of fair housing and equal access to credit for every qualified individual, regardless of their national origin.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the applicant filed a fair housing complaint alleging that he was unfairly denied an opportunity to prequalify for a mortgage loan, precluding him from purchasing a home because he is Hispanic. American Financial Network will pay the man $5,000; Benchmark Communities will provide annual fair housing training for its employees who interact with prospective homebuyers; and American Financial Network will provide annual fair housing training to current and new employees as they are hired.

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) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.