July 02--Greenlight Financial Services of Irvine has agreed to pay $48,000 to settle allegations the company violated provisions in the Fair Housing Act when it denied or delayed mortgage loans to women who were on maternity leave, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday.
It is unlawful to deny a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance because a woman is pregnant or on family leave.
The conciliation agreement, reached June 5, was disclosed in a news release issued Tuesday by the Fair Housing Act oversight agency.
Greenlight, now called GFS Capital Holdings, denied violating the law or admitting to discrimination alleged in a Nov. 8, 2012, complaint, but did agree to pay $20,000 to an unnamed Rancho Santa Margarita couple who filed the discrimination complaint and to pay $7,000 to each of four additional applicants HUD identified in a federal investigation of discriminatory practices against households with women who were on maternity leave.
"The fact that an applicant is on maternity leave alone is not a valid basis for denying or delaying a refinance loan," Bryan Greene, HUD's general deputy assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement.
Greene said HUD will continue to enforce fair housing laws to ensure no other qualified applicant is illegally denied the home financing they need only because they take maternity, paternity or parental leave.
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