Report Details Racial Discrimination Among Banks and Mortgage Lenders

Fifty years of the Fair Housing Act hasn't been enough to stop banks and mortgage lenders from discriminating against people of color. Some bad actors are worse than others, though the whole industry in the aggregate is hardly free from indictment.
February 16, 2018, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Mike Mozart

The Center for Investigative Reporting's "Reveal" platform released a bombshell report this week that finds evidence of mortgage lenders denying home loans to people of color at higher rates than for white people.

According to an article sharing news of the study, nearly two-thirds of mortgage lenders rejected people of color at higher rates, but there were a few extreme examples. The article lists the worst offenders as TD Bank and Capital One. "African American and Latino borrowers are more likely to get turned down by TD Bank than by any other major mortgage lender," according to the article. "The bank turned down 54 percent of black homebuyers and 45 percent of Latino homebuyers, more than three times the industry averages," write Aaron Glantz, Emmanuel Martinez, and Jennifer Gollan.

The article notes the rise of mortgage lenders since the Great Recession—unlike banks, mortgage lenders "are not required to follow Community Reinvestment Act rules to lend to low-income borrowers and in blighted communities." That lack of regulation creates lenders like Ruoff Home Mortgage, which "made 92 percent of its 5,300 conventional home loans to whites in 2015 and 2016" despite operating in a city with a large African-American community. The article includes more examples of banks taking advantage of loopholes to avoid loaning to people of color or to avoid the appearance of discrimination.

In addition to the article calling out specific banks and mortgage lenders for discriminatory practices, Glantz and Martinez also author the full report, titled "Kept Out." The report includes interactive infographics, testimonials, more explanation of discriminatory practices among banks and lenders, and a case study from Philadelphia.

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Published on Thursday, February 15, 2018 in Reveal (The Center for Investigative Reporting)
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