The Civil Rights Division's press release says that the settlement came "after a two-and-a-half-year investigation by the Department of Justice, which included reviewing internal company documents and data on more than 850,000 residential mortgage loans SunTrust Mortgage originated between 2005 and 2009." It goes on:
The settlement was filed in conjunction with the department’s complaint that alleges SunTrust Mortgage violated the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act by charging more than 20,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher fees and interest rates than non-Hispanic white borrowers, not based on borrower risk, but because of their race or national origin. Specifically, the allegations involve loans made to African-American borrowers between 2005 and 2008 through the more than 200 retail offices directly operated by SunTrust Mortgage in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic portions of the United States. The allegations also involve loans made to African-American and Hispanic borrowers between 2005 and 2009 through SunTrust Mortgage’s national network of mortgage brokers.
Read an Associated Press story in which the Civil Rights Division's head Thomas Perez says:
At the core of the complaint is a simple story: If you were African-American or Latino, you likely paid more for a SunTrust loan than a similarly qualified white borrower simply because of your skin color. ... You paid what amounted to a racial surtax that ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars.