Report Finds FHA & VA Lending Disproportionately Prevalent in Neighborhoods of Color
July 19, 2012– Leading community organizations today report evidence of a two-tiered mortgage market characterized by high rates of government-backed loans made both to borrowers in communities of color and to minority borrowers in their new report, “PAYING MORE FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM VI: RACIAL DISPARITIES IN FHA/VA LENDING.” (Click here for PDF of the report.)
Data from home mortgage loans originated in seven US cities in 2010 show that black and Latino borrowers and borrowers living in communities of color received government-backed loans (“GBLs”) – insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – significantly more often than did white borrowers. Borrowers who purchased homes in communities of color received government-backed loans twice as often as borrowers in predominantly white communities. Homeowners in communities of color received government-backed refinance loans more than three times as often as homeowners in predominantly white neighborhoods.
The disproportionate prevalence of FHA loans in communities of color raises concerns about mortgage redlining and discriminatory loan steering. The findings reflect an absence of conventional mortgage lending in communities of color and might indicate that lenders are illegally steering loan applicants of color who qualify for conventional loans into FHA loans. The report examines home purchase and refinance lending in Los Angeles, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, New York City, and Rochester.
In Los Angeles, FHA and VA loans constituted a staggering 62.7% percent of all home purchase loans made in communities of color, compared to only 12.4% in predominantly white neighborhoods. Over three-quarters of home purchase loans made to black and Latino borrowers were FHA and VA loans, while only 33.2% of home purchase loans made to white borrowers were government-backed loans. This disproportionality was especially stark in refinance lending patterns. Homeowners in communities of color in Los Angeles received FHA or VA refinance loans 6.5 times more often than homeowners in predominantly white neighborhoods.
“These disparities are very troubling. Some folks who were eligible for a more affordable conventional loan may have been steered into an FHA loan based on their race or where they live,” said Barbara VanKerkhove of the Empire Justice Center. “That is why, among other things, we are urging federal regulators to take a close look at FHA lending when doing fair lending exams,” added Charles Bromley of the Ohio Fair Lending Coalition.
Key Findings among the seven cities:
• Government-backed loans made up almost 67 percent of the home purchase loans made in communities of color.
• Government-backed loans made up 27 percent of the refinance loans made in communities of color.
• Government-backed loans made up 3 of every 4 home purchase loans made to black borrowers, and 2 of 3loans to Latino borrowers.
• Black and Latino homeowners received government-backed refinance loans 3.5 and 2.1 times more often than white homeowners, respectively.
“These patterns are symptoms of a deeper problem: the lack of access to prime conventional loans by borrowers and neighborhoods of color – in other words, on-going redlining,” noted Alexis Iwanisziw of Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project. Although banks are making conventional loans, the report’s analysis indicates their provision of conventional credit is far more restricted in minority communities and to people of color. The disproportionate prevalence of FHA loans in communities of color raises fair lending flags.
This disproportionality is also concerning because of the rising cost of FHA loans. There have been three price increases on FHA loans since October 2010. The latest increase in the upfront mortgage premium payment(“UFMIP”), announced in April, will add new upfront costs of $1,500 for a typical home loan of $200,000.
The report underscores the need for specific actions by policy makers to address systemic inequalities in housing finance, with the following recommendations:• Fair lending enforcement has to be a top priority at all levels of government.• Regulators must ensure fair access to sound, affordable mortgages.• Mortgage servicers, securitization trustees, and banks should keep foreclosed properties in good repair.• The Community Reinvestment Act should be expanded and vigorously enforced.
This is the 6th edition of the “Paying More for the American Dream” series. “Over the six years, one dimension of the lending patterns in our seven cities has remained persistent: stark inequities in mortgage lending disproportionately affect borrowers and neighborhoods of color,” said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition.
CRC Media Contact: Kristina Bedrossian, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-864-3980
This report is a collaboration of Woodstock Institute, Empire Justice Center, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, Reinvestment Partners, California Reinvestment Coalition, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, and Ohio Fair Lending Coalition. Other contacts include: Alexis Iwanisziw (212.680.5100 x.201), Tom Callahan (617.822.9100), Chip Bromley (216.410.3879), Barb VanKerkhove (585-295-5815), Spencer Cowan (312.368.0310), Adam Rust (919.667.1000).
© 2018 California Reinvestment Coalition