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Fair Housing Group Charges Bank of America With Bias

Bank Of America

A sign is seen outside of a Bank of America branch office April 21, 2008, in San Francisco. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A fair housing group accuses a big bank of illegal discrimination that’s hurting minority neighborhoods in the Chicago area and two other Midwestern cities.

The National Fair Housing Alliance says it compared the condition of foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods to those in predominantly white communities in Chicago, Milwaukee and Indianapolis.

The group accuses Bank of America of failing to properly maintain and market the homes in the black and Latino neighborhoods.

Anne Houghtaling with HOPE Fair Housing center in Wheaton says a home in a black neighborhood of Chicago’s West Side is typical.

“It’s boarded up, there’s no ‘for sale’ sign, gutters are missing,” she said. “There’s roof damage, there’s siding damage, it’s overgrown. It wasn’t always properly secured so people were getting in. The neighbors had to put a lock on the gate to stop that.”

The alliance says B of A’s neglect is costing neighbors tens of thousand of dollars in the value of their own homes.

A statement from Bank of America says the lender denies the allegations and is committed to stabilizing communities that have been hard hit by the housing crisis.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports