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Attorney general accuses Evans Bank of 'redlining' black neighborhoods

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Chris Caya/WBFO News
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State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is accusing Evans Bank of refusing to offer mortgages to African-Americans in Buffalo. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Tuesday alleging that Evans Bank intentionally excluded black neighborhoods on the city's East side from its lending area. He says the bank denied access to mortgages and refused to solicit customers or locate branches in certain neighborhoods.

"It's really unfortunate that a bank would resort to this sort of a practice and it is up to our office to seek to enforce the law and apply equal justice under law across the state. We will not tolerate racial discrimination in the state of New York," Schneiderman said at a news conference in Buffalo Tuesday.

Schneiderman says the lawsuit is part of a wider investigation into the illegal practice of "redlining" or denying access to mortgages in certain neighborhoods based on race. He says the illegal practice is spelled out in documents generated by Evans Bank.

"They have an explicit map showing that they're redlining the African-American community. They have explicit policies saying that the bank's practice is to limit loans to those communities," Schneiderman said.

In a statement, Evans Bank President David Nasca says the bank will ``vigorously'' defend itself against "meritless accusations."