|Updated: 10/03 6:30 pm
||Published: 10/03 5:41 pm
People's Bank of Tulsa is facing a $20,000 fine after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ruled it was unfairly charging higher interest rates to Hispanic people for car loans.
People's Bank is a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
So the leader of the Hispanic Chamber was surprised that of all banks, People's Bank would be accused of taking advantage of Hispanic people.
"It was very surprising to me, yes," said Francisco Trevino.
Trevino said People's Bank is one of the go-to banks for Hispanic people needing a car loan.
"What I hear from Hispanic car dealers and non-Hispanic car dealers that use People's Bank for credit, if they would have gone the option of 'buy here, pay here' it would have been higher there," he said.
Trevino said it's not surprising most Hispanics would pay slightly higher rates, because without a Social Security number, they're considered high-risk.
"The federal government gives them a federal ID number so they can do taxes; they can, you know, prepare their taxes. And so when the bank loans somebody that has a federal ID number, obviously it's a higher risk," he said.
He thinks the FDIC fine suggests People's Bank was taking advantage of that and charging even more than it should.
"This is one of the reasons why we push hard to have a comprehensive immigration reform bill ... on the federal level," he said.
After all, he says, most of the Hispanic customers are trying to secure a loan for the same reason.
"People are trying to establish some kind of a credit," he said.
That's so they can be considered less of a risk and have an even playing field the next time they go to the bank.
FOX23 called and went to People's Bank to get a response to the FDIC fine, but the bank had no comment.
This FDIC ruling says paying the $20,000 fine does not mean the bank is admitting guilt.