Editor’s Note: This column from KleinBank president and CEO Doug Hile is in response to an article published in last week’s edition of the newspaper.
By Doug Hile
For well over a year, KleinBank has been working cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Justice on an inquiry about our lending practices. Banking is a highly regulated business, and, while inquiries by governmental agencies are fairly common, this is the first one from this particular federal agency in our 10-year history. We have provided significant amounts of information in response to the inquiry, and we have cooperated with their requests in all respects.
The Department of Justice has now filed a complaint alleging we have engaged in “redlining,” asserting in this case that we have intentionally not served the mortgage credit needs of minority borrowers in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
KleinBank vigorously disputed the government’s claim of “redlining,” which has absolutely no basis in fact. To the contrary, we have an established history of responding to all credit requests with a commitment to fairness and equal opportunity. And the government does not dispute this history.
KleinBank is subject to extensive and rigorous examinations by federal and state regulators. Year after year, the results of these examinations have found that we have well served all of our constituents’ needs. The markets that we serve and the regulations that we follow are continuously changing, often in complex ways. We have always stayed true to our values, and we have been meticulous and proactive in adapting to the changes.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are not part of our market, and we have virtually no business there. These are highly competitive markets, and they are comprehensively served by well-established financial institutions with numerous branches and many years of history.
The complaint alleges, however, that KleinBank had a proactive duty to expand beyond our century-old roots in Carver County and western Minnesota to build branches in Minneapolis and St. Paul, which is a baseless and unprecedented reach by the government.
We are confident that a full and fair review of our practices will validate our exceptional history of community lending and community responsiveness.
KleinBank has been your community bank for more than a century. You can rely on us for our commitment to serve you and our communities with integrity, fairness and flexibility.
It’s our commitment that we will continue to work collaboratively on solutions to the benefit of all.
Doug Hile is the president and CEO of Chaska-based KleinBank. Locally, KleinBank has branches in Waconia, St. Bonifacius, Norwood Young America, Cologne, Victoria, Chaska and Chanhassen.