Bank of America Charged in Bias Suit

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The suit - which doesn't have class-action status but claims to cover bankers and brokers working at the firm from 2003 until the present - also claims B of A's retail brokerage unit "steered" teams of minority brokers and bankers to territories made up largely of minority households with lower net worths. Non-minority households were steered toward white teams, the suit says. As a result, blacks have a more difficult time than whites in building their books of business, careers and income, the suit alleges.

Bank of America denies the charges. "Our company does not tolerate discrimination," a spokesperson told the Associated Press. "We intend to vigorously defend against the claims made in this lawsuit."

Recently, Morgan Stanley's Global Wealth Management Group settled a class-action lawsuit that alleged it discriminated against women brokers and trainees in promotion and compensation. Merrill Lynch also faces a suit alleging "systemic and pervasive" racial discrimination against African-Americans.