TRENTON, NJ – In response to the announced settlement late last month between Lakeland Bank and the U.S. Department of Justice, John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM, Founder, President, and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) shared, “We pledge to continue to work with Lakeland Bank, as members of the AACCNJ, to foster deeper engagement within the communities we serve to derive maximum impact and mutual benefit.” “Lakeland’s future commitments, along with its membership investment in the AACCNJ, has contributed to our growth and ability to assist our constituency.
During the covid-19 pandemic we called upon Lakeland Bank to provide critical resources to our constituency during a devastating period for Black businesses throughout the state. Investments such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), support of our Minority Business Development Assistance (MBDA) Initiative, and technical assistance programs, provided much needed resources to address the impact of the pandemic on underserved communities,” Harmon said. “A New Jersey-based bank agreed to pay $13 million to settle allegations it engaged in “redlining” — a form of housing discrimination in which a lender intentionally deprives Blacks and Hispanics of loans. “Lakeland avoided serving the credit needs of borrowers in majority Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Newark (area) and discouraged borrowers in majority Black and Hispanic census tracts in the Newark (area) from obtaining mortgage loans, while acting to serve the credit needs for mortgage loans in majority white census tracts,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey said in a consent order. As part of the settlement Lakeland Bank admitted to no wrongdoing. As part of the settlement, Newfoundland-based Lakeland will invest a minimum of $12 million in a loan subsidy fund to increase credit for home mortgage loans, home improvement loans and home refinance loans for people in majority Black and Hispanic areas.