Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after the Department of Justice announced a $335 million settlement with Countrywide Financial Corporation for discriminatory lending practices:

“I'm pleased the Justice Department reached an agreement that will compensate thousands of African-American and Hispanic borrowers who were subjugated to Countrywide’s discriminatory policies, but I'm still deeply concerned that not enough people in the financial sector have been held accountable for their role in the sub prime mortgage crisis.

“The collapse of our housing market is widely accepted to be one of, if not the, key factor in our economic crisis and the actions of Countrywide and its subsidiaries who unfairly steered thousands of minority homeowners to purchase riskier subprime mortgages significantly increased its impact. Providing recompense to the victims of these unfair and unethical lending practices is a step forward in bringing the people who committed these crimes to justice but more action must be taken to prosecute those who allowed this type of predatory activity to occur.

“This year, Washington State had the 15th-highest foreclosure rate in the country and creating and enforcing the policies that prevent this from happening again is one of my highest priorities. I will continue to monitor these cases and make sure we do what is needed to protect individuals and their families from irresponsible business practices that jeopardize their quality of life and that compromise our country’s economic stability.”