Crime & Justice

$13.5 million US Bank settlement as LA aims to remove foreclosure blight in South LA, San Fernando Valley

The U.S. Bank Tower seen on Feb. 9, 2006 in Los Angeles.
The U.S. Bank Tower seen on Feb. 9, 2006 in Los Angeles.
David McNew/Getty Images

U.S. Bank reached a $13.5 million settlement with Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer's office on Thursday for allegedly failing to maintain hundreds of foreclosed properties in L.A.

"Banks must be accountable for the condition of the properties they hold," Feuer said in a statement. He added that it "underscores my commitment that all foreclosed and vacant properties be kept up to code, so they don't become sources of blight or magnets for crime."

The settlement includes $11.9 million in civil penalties, while the rest will resolve municipal code violations. It was originally filed in July 2012 by former City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, focused on 170 of the 1,500 properties the bank had acquired in the city through foreclosure.

Many of the homes were vacant and in primarily low-income areas of South L.A. and the San Fernando Valley.

The original complaint alleged that U.S. Bank failed to respond after receiving multiple notices to comply and hearing notices from L.A. city agencies.

The bank also agreed to have one full-time senior employee serve as a point of contact for city agencies dealing with code violations at the bank's foreclosed properties.

U.S. Bank is the fifth largest commercial bank in the nation.