Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Honda's Racist Lending Practice
Widespread in Wisconsin

When people try to say racism in America does not exist, this is the kind of story I relate to them. Black and Latino car buyers were charged 4-6% more for car loans than whites by American Honda Finance Corp. AND worse there is no WI law to stop them says Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.

"Lautenschlager said her office had received complaints from black customers that their loans were being unfairly marked up and obtained data from a class action lawsuit against the American Honda Finance Corp. showing the practice was particularly widespread in Wisconsin.

A preliminary check by investigators in her office found dealer markups of as high as 4 to 6 percentage points for minorities, she said, compared to generally much smaller increases for whites.
Lautenschlager said the only recourse for Wisconsin customers now is for them to file federal lawsuits."

Currently the AG cannot bring civil rights discriminationt suits though Governor Doyle has proposed a law change. Further the Dept. of Financial Institutions outlaws discrimination based on marital staus and sex but NOT race. So the state really can't do anything.
So next time someone says there is no racism (institutional or otherwise) in America tell them, to tell that to black and Latino car buyers in WI.


American Honda Finance Corp website states :

Through the efforts of our parent corporation, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., American Honda Finance Corp. takes an active role as a citizen of the communities that we serve. By supporting important community initiatives, we hope to help make a difference

(I'd say about a 4-6% difference but I digress)

They offer a link to a page where one can get more info on this community involvement but you get a "page not found" message. Hold on.... this isn't some smoke and mirrors clip joint. You just have to re-diirect yourself to their homepage to find out how American Honda is involved in communities:

Since 1989, Honda has awarded several million dollars in grants to 64 Historically Black Colleges and Universities through the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge. More than 15,000 students have participated in this academic quiz program.

I think the number one question in that Quiz Program should be:

"Is the several million dollars Honda contributes to Black Universities
less than,
equal to,
or greater than,
the 4-6% hike rate imposed on Blacks in Honda's racist lending practices?"

But I digress and I keed, I keed Honda. Because after all Honda is devoted to Diversity. It says so on their Diversity page.

Honda's commitment to diversity has a strong supportive foundation in the Honda's corporate philosophy, established by our Company founders more than 40 years ago. At the core of our philosophy is the principle of Respect for the Individual, which has three basic components: trust, initiative and equality. This fundamental commitment to 'respect' guides Honda in all of our business operations.
The shared spirit between this Honda's corporate philosphy and our diversity efforts is clear. And, Respect for the Individual is not limited to our associates but also defines the company's relationship within the communities where we operate. With these philosophical principles as our foundation, Honda's diversity efforts were formalized to provide the framework for our action. We know that to be successful, action and philosophy must be closely linked.

"Action without philosophy is a lethal weapon; philosophy without action is worthless." - Soichiro Honda, founder

Well here's my Diversity quote:

"Diversity philosophy with discriminatory action is lethal to communities but makes big bucks for Honda and WI car dealers"

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