NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH) – Newark-based Park National Bank will pay millions of dollars to settle claims of lending discrimination.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Park National was accused of practicing redlining in the Columbus metropolitan area. Redlining is when lenders illegally avoid giving loans to potential borrowers because of race.

“Redlining not only harms Black people and people of color who are denied equal access to credit and the opportunity to build wealth; it also spans generations as communities are deprived of investment, which, in turn, contributes to the widening racial wealth gap in the United States,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Park National violated the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act between 2015 and 2021, but is now cooperating with the Department of Justice to fix its lending practices.

“This settlement ensures that Park National Bank will no longer discriminate against people based on their color or ethnicity when providing home loans or other mortgage services,” said Kenneth Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “And it compensates persons in the communities where the redlining occurred for the harm that Park National Bank’s actions caused.”

As part of the settlement, the bank has agreed to invest $9 million in a loan subsidy fund to help increase credit access in majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, and provide credit counseling and other financial education to minority communities.