Park National Bank to Pay $9M for Redlining Settlement

Park National Bank (PNB), Newark, Ohio, will pay $9M to settle allegations of redlining in the Columbus metropolitan area. The allegations relate to the bank’s use of lending branches in predominantly white neighborhoods. This practice led to the “deprivation of physical presence” in these communities. According to the DOJ’s consent order, the bank did not attempt to “compensate” for its absence in these communities. PNB, a multi-state bank that has assets of $9.8 billion and has 92 branches, did not “admit to or deny any allegations” and instead agreed to settle the matter without litigation. The DOJ, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are part of an interagency effort to combat redlining. Attorney General Merrick B. Galrland launched the initiative in October 2021. The DOJ announced six redlining cases and settlements in October 2021 to provide relief for communities of colour. The DOJ announced six redlining cases and settlements totaling over $84 million in relief for communities of color in January. Clarke, assistant attorney General for the DOJ, said that she will “continue fighting to fulfill our promise of our country’s fair lending laws while tearing apart the discriminatory barriers that deny Blacks and other people of colour access to economic opportunity.” Clarke stated that banks failing to provide equal access for lending services to neighborhoods of color can lead to modern-day redlining and increase the racial wealth disparity in the country.