Bank of America has suspended its relationship with under fire community organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), according to an AP report.
The grassroots non-profit, that among other things, works to eliminate predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders, was recently caught giving advice to what appeared to be a pimp and a prostitute.
The pair, who received questionable tax advice from an ACORN counselor, were actually actors with a hidden camera working on behalf of a right-wing organization called Biggovernment.com.
As a result, Bank of America decided to suspend work with the housing affiliate of ACORN, following a plea by three Republicans in Congress to provide a complete account of their dealings with the group.
The Charlotte-based bank and mortgage lender said it would not enter into further agreements with ACORN until it is satisfied that all “issues” are resolved.
Citibank, which also received a letter from those House Republicans, said it was “deeply concerned” and looking forward to the findings of an independent audit regarding the matter.
ACORN officials, which argued that the very same Republicans ignored predatory lending accusations back when the mortgage crisis took hold, said they’ve taken a number of steps to get back on track, including ethics training for all staff.
ACORN, which is a member of foreclosure prevention alliance Hope Now, pushed former top lender Countrywide to offer more loan workouts for its struggling borrowers, a positive measure that could be sidelined as a result of the allegations.
However, the group came under fire back in late February after breaking into a foreclosed home in Baltimore to reclaim ownership for a past homeowner, leading to the arrest of one its members; it turned out the previous owner had been a bit of a serial refinancer…