Fifth Third Settles $18 Million After Allegations Of Higher Loan Rates For Minorities

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CINCINNATI (AP) – Federal authorities say Cincinnati-based regional bank Fifth Third Bancorp has agreed to an $18 million settlement to resolve allegations that black and Hispanic borrowers had to pay higher auto loan rates.

Federal officials say the settlement announced Monday includes compensation for borrowers who were overcharged and requires changes and monitoring of the way Fifth Third prices what are called “indirect” auto loans originated by dealers. Federal officials say Fifth Third’s practices allowed dealer markups that resulted in a pattern of discrimination.

The federal complaint filed against Fifth Third says thousands of black and Hispanic borrowers paid higher rates that obliged them to pay around $200 more over the life of their loans than white non-Hispanic borrowers did.

Fifth Third says it strongly opposes any type of discrimination.