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Minorities Denied Mortgages? PDF Print E-mail
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According to this article, minorities in my neck of the woods are denied mortgages at twice the percentage of whites. The articles makes the leap that "the primary factor appears to be minority status."


I've been in the mortgage business a long time, I've never once met a loan officer who was willing to give up a commission because he/she didn't want to work with a minority. I'm sure that person exists... but does it account for a doubling of the denial rate of applications? Not a chance.

Loan officers are generally either entirely paid on commission or mostly paid on commission. Furthermore, mortgage brokers and lenders don't get paid if they don't close loans. In that environment, can you really imagine that a large percentage of loans are denied because the loan officer would rather stick it to a minority than make a paycheck?

The study referenced only cites income levels when comparing applicants of different races. Yet income is only a small fraction of what goes into approving someone for a loan or not. Where is the mention of credit scoring, job stability, rent verification, or personal assets? Where is the mention of down payment, equity or liquidity? I would like to see the raw numbers, but I would be willing to bet that when all factors are considered the denial rate between minorities and whites is not nearly as disparate as the article implies.

  • Are minorities of similar income levels likely to have as good credit scores as whites?
  • Are minorities of similar income levels likely to have as good credit histories as whites?
  • Are minorities of similar income levels likely to have as many debt accounts as whites?
  • Are minorities of similar income levels likely to have as much in savings as whites?
  • Are minorities of similar income levels likely to have as much down payment as whites?
  • Are minorities of similar income levels likely to have as much personal assets, liquidity, job stability and rental verification as whites?
These are the questions you have to answer in order to determine if there is discrimination in the denial rates of minorities versus whites. But the article, the report cited, and those who want to politicize all of it either cannot or will not answer the above questions. Quite possibly the answer will not correspond with the result they desire.

I can only speak from my experience and from the people I know in the business. I will not make broad generalizations about minority groups because generalizations serve no useful purpose and my office's overall work may or may not be representative of the industry in total. However, I have never seen any evidence of a broad conspiracy in the mortgage business to deny people mortgage loans. I have worked with a number of minorities over the years, and never once has a lender or one of my loan officers denied a loan because of race. We treat all loans equally and try to improve all borrowers financial stability. I assume most mortgage companies' experiences are the same.

And doesn't the assumption of racist mortgage denials fall in stark contrast with other media reports lately? How can mortgage brokers be actively denying loans to minorities and at the same time be offering them loans they can't afford causing mass foreclosures? How can we on the one hand be guilty of unnecessarily turning down business and on the other hand be guilty of giving people loans who don't qualify for them?

Maybe the city of Raleigh needs to look at other options instead of going on a witch hunt after discrimination that might not exist. Let's look into what the real cause is without making supposition. Then, only after you have identified the cause, can it be fixed. If you want to spend tax dollars combating the racial disparity in the mortgage business, it might be better spent on financial education in schools, credit education for the public, and money/debt management training for prospective homeowners. Maybe there should be an analysis of cultural differences when it comes to debt, finances and depository accounts?

I'm tired. Tired of combating societal impulses for media-driven buzzwords, a lack of personal responsibility, and the creation of evil that doesn't exist... all at the expense of what? The truth.

The truth doesn't matter anymore. We're all just a bunch of racists.

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