The Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Mississippi-based BancorpSouth $10.6 million, alleging the bank deliberately discriminated against minorities in its lending practices.
BancorpSouth, a medium-sized regional bank with $10.6 billion in assets, deliberately avoided building branches in minority neighborhoods in Memphis, Tennessee from at least 2011 to 2013. The bank also denied loans to African Americans and other minorities when compared to neighborhoods with smaller minority populations, the Justice Department and CFPB said, and those minorities who were given loans were given higher interest rates when compared to non-minorities.
While BancorpSouth is based in Tupelo, Mississippi, the case deals with BancorpSouth’s presence in Memphis. The bank had 22 branches in the Memphis area between 2011 and 2013, all of which were located outside neighborhoods with large minority populations. Maps provided by the regulators also showed nearly all BancorpSouth’s loans originated outside minority neighborhoods of Memphis as well.