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U.S. fair housing group files complaint against Deutsche Bank

By Margaret Chadbourn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Foreclosed houses managed by Deutsche Bank in black and Latino neighborhoods had more broken windows, damaged roofs, overgrown lawns and trash in the yard than those it managed in nearby white neighborhoods, a nonprofit group said in a complaint to federal officials on Tuesday.

The bank took much better care of foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods, and also marketed them more effectively, said the National Fair Housing Alliance, which filed its accusations with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The alliance has filed similar complaints against Bank of America and U.S. Bancorp.

In the complaint, the group and three members said it investigated around 130 properties in Washington, D.C., Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago, Illinois, and found Deutsche Bank put more effort into upkeep of homes in primarily white areas.

In scrutinizing the foreclosed properties for problems, the group said it found significant disparities in the maintenance and marketing in all three metropolitan areas based on the primary race of the neighborhoods.

Deutsche Bank said it does not engage in activities alleged in the complaint and said loan servicing companies are solely responsible for the foreclosed properties.

"Deutsche Bank as trustee does not select, hire or compensate the loan servicers, nor does it have any role in, or oversight over, the actions the servicers take in connection with foreclosed properties," said Renee Calabro, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman, in a statement.

A HUD spokesman declined to comment on the investigation.

Last June, Wells Fargo & Co agreed to pay $42 million to resolve allegations that it failed to maintain foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods, but it denied the allegations in settling the case.

(Reporting by Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by David Gregorio)

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