Wells Fargo Shareholder Resolution 2008

Wells Fargo Asked to Report on Racial Disparities in Mortgage Lending


WHEREAS, there are wide disparities between the interest rates charged to African-American and Latino families compared to white families, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data filed by lending institutions.

According to the Federal Reserve, 53.7% of conventional purchase loans to African-American borrowers in 2006 were "high-cost" versus just 17.7% of similar loans to white borrowers. The Federal Reserve defines "high cost" as an annual percentage rate (APR) of 3% above a comparable Treasury security on a first mortgage and 5% above a comparable Treasury security on a second mortgage. African-American families are 3 times more likely than white families to receive a high-cost mortgage, raising their cost of homeownership.

Even after adjusting for such factors as income levels of borrowers, location, loan amounts and type of lender, unexplained disparities remain in the Federal Reserve's analysis: African-American home borrowers receive high cost loans 30.3% of the time; Latino borrowers 20.7% of the time and white borrowers 17.2% of the time.

Racial disparities in Wells Fargo's 2006 HMDA data are also pronounced. Of Wells Fargo's conventional first-lien mortgages (unadjusted for income, location, loan size, and lender type), high cost loans made up 45.8% of the loans to African-Americans, 22.6% of the loans to Latinos, and 12.4% of the loans to whites. African-Americans were 3.69 times more likely than whites to receive a high cost loan and Latinos were 1.82 times more likely than whites.

In April 2005, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer asked Wells Fargo and three other large banks for information on loan conditions and credit scores as he investigated whether the racial disparities in high cost loans violated state laws. According to Spitzer, Wells Fargo's African American customers in New York were three times more likely than whites to receive high cost loans, at JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup the disparity was 2-to-1 and at HSBC, 1.5-to-1. (Source: Washington Post 6/25/2005) Rather than comply with Spitizer's request, Wells Fargo joined others in successfully suing the Attorney General arguing that he had no jurisdiction over a federally chartered bank.

Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a special report, providing explanations of racial and ethnic disparities in the cost of loans provided by the company. The report shall discuss the following questions:
  1. How does Wells Fargo explain the racial and ethnic disparities pertaining to high cost mortgages revealed in the company's Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data?
  2. Does Wells Fargo believe that the company's racial and ethnic disparities in high cost loans affect the home affordability or wealth-building benefits of homeownership for their minority customers?
  3. Does Wells Fargo believe some of these disparities are explained by the racial wealth divide prevalent in the United States? If so, what does Wells Fargo believe can be done to lessen this divide?
This report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, shall be available to all shareholders, upon written request, no later than September 30, 2008.

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