CRL in the News
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider whether Texas can be sued for disparate impact under the Fair Housing Act for how it allocated low-income tax credits in Dallas, in a case lawyers say would make it harder to bring claims of unintentional discrimination against companies in a broad swath of industries, including developers, lenders and insurers.
Since the nadir of the housing crisis, the mortgage industry has seen the advent of a vast array of regulations aimed at protecting borrowers and ensuring their ability to repay their loans. Few would argue, however, that unethical banks and originators are entirely extinct, and consumer-advocate groups continue to promote industry reform.
And it is doing just what many economists and consumer groups have urged: making credit more widely available. “Not all subprime lending is abusive. It just happened that all of the abuses happened in the subprime space,” said Nikitra Bailey, an executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending. “The regulators now have to be really vigilant to make sure people are getting appropriate loans and they don’t allow the subprime market to get back out of hand.”
“It is concerning that families of color remain underserved in our current mortgage system,” said Nikitra Bailey, executive vice-president with the Center for Responsible Lending (CLR). “Owning a home remains an important building block for families to create economic stability. Thus, the primary and secondary mortgage markets have a responsibility to ensure that all Americans who are qualified can access responsible mortgage credit.”
Nikitra Bailey, executive vice-president with CRL added, “While families and communities struggle to recover from their tremendous lost wealth, no community should be left behind. All Americans deserve to be part of the nation’s financial recovery. . . .Without that access, the nation’s wealth gap will only grow wider.”
Just as we are beginning to see signs of recovery in housing, federal regulators are considering a policy that could threaten economic progress and financial opportunities for middle-class families. This policy would require a 10 percent or other minimum down payment on home loans before the federal government will label them “safe” as “qualified residential mortgages.”
In a 2007 piece for the NAACP aptly titled “Financial Apartheid,” Nikitra S. Bailey of the Center for Responsible Lending painstakingly documented how the subprime mortgage crisis and the return of predatory lending practices affected communities of color.
Only a few years ago, the scarcity of credit was a problem for women, low-income Americans, and borrowers in communities of color. Today, because of advances in technology and changes in the marketplace, many in these same populations are bombarded with offers from subprime mortgage lenders, check cashers, payday lenders, and other fringe bankers. Credit in the United States is now more widely available than ever before.