A New Wave of Fair-Lending Activism

August 14, 2013
American Banker  
mortgage lending news

The community reinvestment movement, born 40 years ago, saw successes such as the 1968 Fair Housing Act and subsequent amendments, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Initiatives by government agencies, however, are generally recognized as insufficient to address all the challenges posed by the financial crisis. Tom Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights, acknowledged last year that his office still has much to accomplish. The National Fair Housing Alliance estimated that 4 million incidents of housing discrimination occur each year, compared to only about 27,000 complaints filed with fair-housing enforcement agencies in 2011. Among borrowers who received loans between 2004 and 2008, 11 percent of African Americans and 14 percent of Hispanics have lost their homes, compared to 8 percent of Asians and 6 percent of non-Hispanic whites. Occupy Wall Street has helped to change national attitudes and political debates, calling on Americans to remember the tactics and values of the civil rights movement -- including the housing and housing finance industries -- and it may lead the next wave of fair-lending activism.
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