Capital One accused of abandoning minority neighborhoods in $38 billion case

On the near Northside just off Fulton you will find a building that was once a branch of Capital One Bank.

You can tell by the remnants of the old drive through lanes.

Dottie Bumpers helps manage the chicken joint next door and says the closure cut deep in a largely minority community where affordable credit is hard to come by.

"It really does hurt the community because we are all working people too, just like the rich people - and all these people around here probably depend on this bank right here," said Bumpers.

Turns out the Fulton closure was one of 89 branches shuttered by Capital One across Texas with half serving "under-banked" Latino or African American neighborhoods.

Well-known Houston attorney Ben Hall is suing Capital One on behalf of the NAACP's Local President, LULAC and two dozen other plaintiffs - all alleging the closures were discriminatory and did disproportionate damage to communities of color.

"This really is modern day red-lining at Capital One. In a city where you have over one million minorities they extended only one mortgage to one Black person in that year and that's wrong," said Hall referring to 2016 and leaked evidence provided by a former employee.

Attorneys for Capital One contend that while their client has closed branches in minority neighborhoods, other full-service banks remain to fill the gap.

They also contend Capital One closed branches in an equal number of mostly White communities in a purely economic drawdown that had nothing to do with race.

Hall says if the case reaches a jury he will present whistleblower testimony that Capitol One soured on doing do business in low income markets and broke a commitment to invest $180 billion in ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

Dottie Bumpers says when banks bailout, the customers they leave behind have few good choices.

"Payday loans and stuff like that. It's hard for the majority to get credit, its very hard," said Bumpers.

 At Thursday's hearing in Federal Court, Capital One boasted that regulators have awarded the bank a community re-investment rating of "outstanding", despite the wave of branch closures in minority neighborhoods.

U.S. District Judge Alfred Bennett will soon decide if a Houston jury will be allowed to make their own assessment in a case where the plaintiffs are seeking $38 billion in damages.