Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lending to blacks, Hispanics plummets during housing crisis By Kenneth J. Cooper


Since the housing market collapsed, mortgage lending to African Americans and Hispanics has plunged precipitously — by more than 60 percent, according to a new study of loan information that banks submit to the federal government.

Together, African Americans and Hispanics were able to borrow 62 percent less to buy or refinance homes in 2009 than in 2004, before the market crashed, the computerized analysis finds. With lenders imposing tighter credit standards, mortgage dollars going to non-Hispanic white borrowers also declined, though by considerably less: 17 percent. Asians fared best, obtaining nearly an equal amount in mort­gages.
The study, using Federal Reserve data, was conducted by Maurice Jourdain-Earl, founder and managing director of ComplianceTech in Arlington, Va., which advises financial institutions on fair lending practices.

Mortgages made to Hispanics have decreased the most, by 63 percent, to $78 million in 2009 from $214 million in 2004. Lending to African Americans has dropped to $49 million from $122 million, or 60 percent.

Whites have been affected much less and Asians barely. New mortgages to white borrowers declined to $1.1 billion from $1.3 billion, or 17 percent. Lending to Asians stayed almost the same.

Whites were about twice as likely as African Americans and Hispanics to be approved for prime mortgages with the lowest interest rates, while members of the two largest minority groups were two to four times more likely to receive subprime loans, which have higher rates. By contrast, the disparities were much narrower for loans insured by the government’s Federal Housing Administration, which has attracted a growing number of borrowers during the credit crunch.

The study concluded that a “dual mortgage market” has emerged, with white and Asian borrowers having better access to lower-cost mortgages than African Americans and Hispanics, who on average pay more to own or refinance a home — if they can obtain a mortgage.
“The higher cost for mortgage credit translates into less money for basic necessities,” Jourdain-Earl writes. Read the rest of the article here.

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