Case: United States v. Park National Bank

2:23-cv-00822 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Filed Date: Feb. 28, 2023

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case concerns the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”). On February 28, 2023, Merrick Garland, Attorney General of the United States, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against Park National Bank (“PNB”). The complaint was filed following an investigation done as part of the DOJ’s Combating Redlining Initiative started in October of 2021.  The U.S. sought to remedy PNB’s alleged discriminatory practices in mortga…

This case concerns the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”). On February 28, 2023, Merrick Garland, Attorney General of the United States, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against Park National Bank (“PNB”). The complaint was filed following an investigation done as part of the DOJ’s Combating Redlining Initiative started in October of 2021.  The U.S. sought to remedy PNB’s alleged discriminatory practices in mortgage lending. The U.S. alleged that PNB’s business practices from 2015 to at least 2021 amounted to unlawful redlining in the Columbus, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area (“Columbus MSA”). The U.S. sought declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, damages, a civil penalty, and any additional relief justice may require. 

The U.S. alleged that PNB’s business practices were designed to and successfully discriminated against people of color in the Columbus MSA.  Of the 433 census tracts in the Columbus MSA, some 73 of them are majority Black and Hispanic. The bank’s self-designated assessment areas broke these tracts down into two, and one group called the Columbus Lending Area (“Columbus”) contained 375 census tracts, and with all of the 73 majority Black and Hispanic tracts contained therein. From 2015 to 2021, PNB had 36 unique branch locations open in Columbus (between 20 and 32 at a time), but not a single branch location was in a majority Black and Hispanic neighborhood. Additionally, few tracts bordering on majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods contained branch locations.  Furthermore, the U.S. alleged that PNB was aware of these issues and failed to take adequate steps to mitigate them through advertising, outreach or in another manner.  As a result, PNB received disproportionately low home loan applications, and fewer successful home loans originating from majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Finally, PNB’s internal oversight committees were cognizant of these issues, but failed to follow through on stated plans to fix them.  The U.S. alleged that PNB’s practices and policies constituted unlawful redlining in violation of the FHA, and the ECOA. 

Also on February 28, 2023, a joint motion to approve a Consent Judgment by the plaintiff was filed. The consent judgment was signed on March 2, 2023 by Judge Edmund A. Sargus. The terms of the order were as follows:

  1. PNB is to ensure that it provides equal opportunity for all to apply for and obtain credit regardless of the demographics of their census tract or the location of the property in question.
  2. PNB produced a Fair Lending Status Report and Compliance Plan in concert with an independent, third-party consultant, and submitted it to the U.S. for review. The United States will have the right to object to the plan if it does not comply with the FHA or the ECOA.
  3. PNB must provide all relevant employees with a copy of and explanation for the consent order, as well as training as to their obligations under the ECOA, Regulation B, and the FHA.
  4. PNB must submit to the United States for non-objection a Community Credit Needs Assessment for the 73 majority Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Columbia Lending Area.
  5. PNB created and will maintain the position of Director of Community Home Lending and Development to oversee the development of lending in majority Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Columbus Lending Area.
  6. PNB must open one new mortgage loan production office and one full service branch in majority Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Columbus Lending Area. Reasonable efforts must be made to do so within 18 months of the Effective Date of the consent judgment.
  7. PNB must invest a minimum of $7.75 million in a loan subsidy fund to increase credit in majority Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Columbus Lending Area.
  8. PNB must partner with at least one community or government based organization in a Community Development Partnership Program.
  9. PNB must spend at least $150,000 per year on advertising, outreach, education and counseling in majority Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Columbus Lending Area.

This consent order is to remain in effect for five years, or if PNB has not invested the requisite $7.75 million in a loan subsidy fund at the close of five years, then until three months after PNB has finished investing that money. 

Summary Authors

Nina Charap (3/19/2023)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/66907131/parties/united-states-v-park-national-bank/


Judge(s)
Attorney for Plaintiff

Downey, Michael John (Ohio)

Harris, Jaclyn Anne (Ohio)

Attorney for Defendant

Burton, Glenn Lukus (Ohio)

Glassman, Benjamin C (Ohio)

Helpling, Elizabeth (Ohio)

show all people

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

2:23-cv-00822

Complaint of the United States of America

Feb. 28, 2023

Feb. 28, 2023

Complaint
7

2:23-cv-00822

Consent Order

March 2, 2023

March 2, 2023

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/66907131/united-states-v-park-national-bank/

Last updated March 10, 2024, 4:05 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT with JURY DEMAND against Park National Bank, filed by United States Of America. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Civil Cover Sheet) (Malek, Andrew) (Entered: 02/28/2023)

Feb. 28, 2023

Feb. 28, 2023

Clearinghouse
2

Joint MOTION to Approve Consent Judgment by Plaintiff United States Of America. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Consent Order) (Malek, Andrew) (Entered: 02/28/2023)

Feb. 28, 2023

Feb. 28, 2023

PACER
3

NOTICE of Appearance by Benjamin C Glassman for Defendant Park National Bank (Glassman, Benjamin) (Entered: 02/28/2023)

Feb. 28, 2023

Feb. 28, 2023

PACER
4

NOTICE of Appearance by Glenn Lukus Burton for Defendant Park National Bank (Burton, Glenn) Modified to correct spelling of Attorney name on 3/1/2023 (md). (Entered: 02/28/2023)

Feb. 28, 2023

Feb. 28, 2023

PACER
5

NOTICE of Appearance by Elizabeth Helpling for Defendant Park National Bank (Helpling, Elizabeth) (Entered: 02/28/2023)

Feb. 28, 2023

Feb. 28, 2023

PACER
6

NOTICE of Appearance by Erica Michelle Van Heyde for Defendant Park National Bank (Van Heyde, Erica) (Entered: 02/28/2023)

Feb. 28, 2023

Feb. 28, 2023

PACER
7

CONSENT JUDGMENT. Signed by Judge Edmund A. Sargus on 3/2/2023. (cmw) (Entered: 03/02/2023)

March 2, 2023

March 2, 2023

Clearinghouse
8

NOTICE of Appearance by Brandi M. Stewart for Plaintiff United States Of America (Stewart, Brandi) (Entered: 03/03/2023)

March 3, 2023

March 3, 2023

PACER
9

NOTICE of Appearance by Michael John Thomas Downey for Plaintiff United States Of America (Downey, Michael) (Entered: 03/03/2023)

March 3, 2023

March 3, 2023

PACER
10

NOTICE of Appearance by Jaclyn Anne Harris for Plaintiff United States Of America (Harris, Jaclyn) (Entered: 03/03/2023)

March 3, 2023

March 3, 2023

PACER
11

Notice of Appearance

March 13, 2023

March 13, 2023

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Ohio

Case Type(s):

Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 28, 2023

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States of America

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Park National Bank (Columbus, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area), Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Bank or credit provider

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. § 1691

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $7.75M Loan Subsidy Fund

Order Duration: 2023 - 2028

Issues

General/Misc.:

Access to public accommodations - privately owned

Housing

Other Banking

Racial profiling

Racial segregation

Discrimination Area:

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Housing Sales/Rental

Lending

Discrimination Basis:

Race discrimination

Affected National Origin/Ethnicity(s):

Hispanic

Affected Race(s):

Black