From the desk of Lance Haver, Director of Civic Engagement for Philadelphia City Council:
Fifth Third Bank, which offers car loans through car dealers, has agreed to offer refunds to African-Americans and Hispanic consumers who were charged a higher interest rate based on their race.
Car loans made from 2012 through 2014 overcharged African-Americans and Hispanic consumers by an average of $200. In addition, Fifth Third Bank gave car dealers a bonus for increasing the interest rate on these loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created by the Obama Administration, asked the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to file a lawsuit.
The two agencies allowed Fifth Third Bank to sign a consent agreement in order to avoid prosecution. The agreement states the company is to issue refunds and take steps to avoid further discriminatory action.
If you have a car loan with Fifth Third Bank and believe you have been overcharged, please file a complaint with the CFPB and let us know so we can keep track of where the complaints are coming from. Make sure you open every letter from the car loan company — information regarding the refund should be mailed to you.
If you are financing a car, please consider that you might be able to get a lower interest rate from a credit union or a bank, and that the interest rate, like the price of the car, is negotiable.
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