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People of color still face discrimination at banks when it comes to home loans

National

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 2/16/2018, 1:14 p.m.
Despite years of lawsuits and media reports, banks are still...

Despite years of lawsuits and media reports, banks are still discriminating against people of color when it comes to home loans, reports the Christian Science Monitor in association with the Associated Press. In an article published this week, an example was given of a white man with questionable credit being given a loan to buy a home in a mostly Black Philadelphia neighborhood. While loans to young white buyers were becoming commonplace, loans to African Americans were not so easy to come by. This is still going on across America, despite the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. The law, considered landmark, was designed to correct the damage of redlining, a now illegal practice in which the government warned banks away from the neighborhoods with high concentrations of immigrants and African Americans. But the law didn't anticipate a day when historically Black neighborhoods would be sought out by young, white homebuyers. So instead of lending to longtime Black residents of Point Breeze (the Philadelphia neighborhood), most of the loans there are going to white newcomers such as Jonathan Jacobs, the white man mentioned above. The Community Reinvestment Act “is based on geography, so it’s perfectly possible to comply with CRA and have that pattern,” said Patricia McCoy, a law professor at Boston College who oversaw mortgage policy initiatives for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Barack Obama. “That's not the idea, of course, but the law allows it.” The result is nearly all financial institutions nationwide have passed their Community Reinvestment Act inspections since 2009, even though racial disparities in lending remain as pronounced as ever. Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed 31 million mortgage records made available under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and found 61 metro areas across America where people of color – African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans – were denied conventional home purchase loans at significantly higher rates than whites. That was true even after controlling for nine economic and social factors, including applicants’ income, the size of the loan they sought and the neighborhood where they wanted to buy. African-Americans or Latinos were more likely to be turned away in major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and smaller cities such as Iowa City, Iowa; Sumter, S.C.; Tacoma, Wash.; Vallejo, Calif.; and Little Rock, Ark. “We're talking about the same issues in 2017 that we were talking about in the 1940s,” said Arlene Wayns-Thomas, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, which represents African American real estate professionals.