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Foreclosure discrimination corrupts housing market

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2012 | Firm News, Home Foreclosure

Research has suggested for years that banks discriminated against minorities during the housing bubble. Now government officials are beginning to recognize that it did not stop there. When overwhelmed homeowners make the difficult choice to proceed with a foreclosure, banks reportedly continue taking advantages of minorities.

The Center for American Progress determines in 2009 that 14 banks had practiced predatory lending while enabling the real estate market crash. African Americans and Latinos were on average twice as likely to have unnecessarily high mortgage rates than Caucasians. Now the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) finds recent, widespread discrimination in home foreclosure processes among six major banks in nine cities.

One way banks supposedly discriminate seems to be in advancing the process to begin with. According to the Center for Responsible Learning, minority homeowners get foreclosed on at twice the rate of others because they are more frequently roped into high-risk loans. Then, according to the NFHA, banks fail to meet their obligations as new owners of the property when those homes are in minority communities. That makes the value of homes in those communities decrease, further disadvantaging minority groups.

Instead of properly maintaining the homes they have taken away, as they should, banks let the homes get run down. When the homes lack maintenance and care they drag down property values for the whole community, as well as making the homes themselves harder to sell. So, instead of making reasonable efforts to sell them, banks just let foreclosure properties in minority neighborhoods sit. The NFHA found that three-fourths of Latino neighborhood homes in one city even lacked “For Sale” signs, opposed to less than a third in mainly White neighborhoods.

The foreclosure crisis and real estate market are threatening enough to the overall well-being of this country. People have been treated badly, but each person, whether they are of a minority group or not, deserves to be treated as badly or as well as the person next to him.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Discrimination Cited In Maintenance And Marketing Of Foreclosed Properties In Latino And African American Neighborhoods,” April 7, 2012

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