The Greenlining Institute has announced its strong opposition to the nomination of former OneWest Bank CEO Joseph Otting to be Comptroller of the Currency. Greenlining noted that OneWest has a terrible record on many fronts, not limited to the bank’s recently-announced $89 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice for alleged reverse mortgage fraud.
“Under Mr. Otting’s leadership, OneWest compiled a terrible record in dealing with communities of color and treatment of consumers in general,” said Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar. “Some recent press accounts implied I’m a supporter, but in fact we have grave reservations and strongly urge the Senate to reject Mr. Otting’s nomination.”
In a 2015 blog post about OneWest’s merger with CIT Group, then under consideration by regulators, Aguilar noted that OneWest had foreclosed on over 35,000 households, used a notoriously irresponsible loan servicer, did little business with firms owned by people of color, had minimal diversity in its executive ranks, and focused on wealthy customers at the expense of low-income neighborhoods.
More recently, CIT– now merged with OneWest — was subject of a redlining complaint after advocates found surprisingly low levels of lending to African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos.
In addition, the Los Angeles Times labeled OneWest Bank a “laggard” at lending to small businesses. As chair of the California Chamber of Commerce, Otting called state legislation to protect widows and widowers from needless foreclosure a “jobs killer.