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Old National Bank Bid for CapStar Protested After 2021 Settlement 2022 Lending Disparities

by Matthew Russell Lee

SOUTH BRONX, Dec 27 – As US bank regulators talk about working to increase the fairness of the financial system, banks with striking histories of discrimination, even histories acknowledged by settlement, blithely apply for approval to buy other banks.   So it is with Old National, which settled lending discrimination charges in 2021, but remained disparate after that - and now seeks to buy CapStar Bank in Nashville.   On December 27, Fair Finance Watch with Inner City Press on the FOIA filed comments with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency:  "This is a timely first comment opposing and requesting an extension of the OCC's public comment period on the Applications by Old National to acquire CapStar.   As the OCC must know, Old National was the subject of fair lending discrimination charges and settled them in 2021. See, e.g., "Old National Bank preventing loan access to Black borrowers could be illegal, experts say"...     But still in 2022, Old National in Indiana based on its disparate marketing made 2609 mortgage loans to whites, with 791 denials to whites -- while making only 114 loans to African Americans, with fully 97 denials.  This is unacceptable.  In 2022 in Minnesota, based on its disparate marketing, Old National made 850 loans to whites, with 223 denial and only 9 loans to African American, with just as many denials to African Americans: nine. This is totally unacceptable.      CapStar in Tennessee in 2022 made 1522 loans to whites with 125 denials, while making only 49 loans to African American, with ten denials. In North Carolina in 2022, CapStar made five loans to whites, and NONE to African Americans.    There is no public benefit to this proposal.     Fair Finance Watch and Inner City Press have been deeply concerned about the rush by the OCC's penchant to rubberstamp mergers by redliners. We timely request public hearings. The comment period should be extended; evidentiary hearings should be held; and on the current record, the application should not be approved



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