• Description

The financial crisis has led to significantly reduced access to mortgage credit for all borrowers and communities. In neighborhoods of color, however, where the foreclosure crisis has taken an especially severe toll, access to prime, conventional mortgage loans has declined precipitously -- to a much greater degree than in predominantly white neighborhoods. Families living in neighborhoods of color disproportionately lack access to affordable loans needed to purchase or improve their homes or to refinance their mortgage to secure a lower monthly payment. As this lack of access and the ongoing foreclosure crisis wreak havoc on communities of color, neighborhood rehabilitation efforts, including sustainable loan modifications, are desperately needed to help families avert foreclosure and stay in their homes, and to prevent further destabilization of neighborhoods. This report focuses on changes in lending patterns in seven key metropolitan areas: Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; and Rochester, NY. It examines changes in the levels of prime, conventional home purchase and refinance mortgage lending in predominantly white communities and communities of color between 2006, the beginning of the foreclosure crisis, and 2008, the most recent year for which national mortgage lending data are available. The report also examines lending patterns for the four largest bank holding companies: Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Finally, the report includes recommendations for federal policy reforms that would require financial institutions to issue credit responsibly and protect all communities, particularly communities of color, from abusive lending practices.