Rick Rothacker, Reuters

A nonprofit group on Tuesday accused Bank of America Corp of maintaining and marketing foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods much better than those it owns in African-American and Latino neighborhoods.

The National Fair Housing Alliance and its member organizations said they filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It lodged similar complaints in April against Wells Fargo & Co and U.S. Bancorp.

The group reviewed 373 properties owned, managed or serviced by Bank of America in eight U.S. cities as part of its ongoing examination of how U.S. lenders maintain bank-owned properties. Investigators evaluated properties for problems such as broken windows, overgrown lawns, trash accumulation and a lack of “for sale” signs.

“We have found significant racial disparities,” Shanna Smith, chief executive officer of the National Fair Housing Alliance in a conference call with reporters.

Smith said the group continues to look at other banks but declined to provide details. The group first alerted Bank of America, the No. 2 U.S. bank by assets, about the problem in 2009 but has had “unfruitful” discussions about the issue, she said.

Bank of America denied the group’s allegations and stood behind its property maintenance and marketing practices.

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