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The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in mortgage lending and residential real estate-related transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or disability. These prohibitions include refusing to approve a mortgage loan or to provide mortgage insurance because a woman is pregnant or on maternity leave.
“A woman’s maternity leave is not a legitimate basis for a lender to deny a mortgage loan or for an insurer to deny mortgage insurance,” said Bryan Greene, HUD Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “This settlement will allow families all over the country to obtain home loans without respect to their family leave status.”
The Conciliation Agreements resulted from a complaint by a married couple seeking to refinance their home mortgage loan through a credit union. The credit union allegedly denied the application because the woman was on maternity leave, citing CMG MI’s guidelines for calculating income for women on maternity leave, which allowed for regular pay to be considered only if the applicant returned to work before the loan closed.
HUD also filed a Secretary-initiated complaint against CMG MI on behalf of the public, alleging that the company’s written policies and procedures regarding borrowers on maternity, paternity, pregnancy, or parental leave were discriminatory.
Under the terms of the Conciliation Agreements, CMG MI will pay $5,000 to the couple who filed the initial complaint and $25,000 to a qualified organization to educate the public about their fair lending rights, including the rights of borrowers on maternity, paternity, pregnancy, or parental leave when applying for home mortgage loans. Additionally, CMG MI will develop new nondiscriminatory guidelines regarding calculating maternity, paternity, and pregnancy leave income, and train its employees and employees of credit unions that have underwriting responsibilities about these new guidelines.
Persons 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 at www.hud.gov/fairhousing or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.