Ben Carson and Fair Housing Laws
An editorial from New York Times
This article itemizes a new form of land contract housing sales. It preys on African American people of limited means and marginal credit. People pay monthly but title to the property does not transfer until after a long number of years. The potential buyers build no equity and if they miss a payment they are out with no equity to show for it. These programs were used for blockbusting in Chicago when I grew up. Written by Paul Drib in
There are numerous articles and discussions about the fact that African American borrowers are rejected at a higher rate that white borrowers. This disparity is present even when adjusting for income. On the face of it, this appears to be overt discrimination.
An important piece of the puzzle is missing from the discussion. That piece is the credit record and history of the borrower. This information is never made available in these studies and provides a more qualitative aspect of mortgage underwriting. Two other equally qualified borrowers will have different underwriting results if one has a negative credit record. Research I have conducted has shown that bad credit is the primary cause of a loan going bad.
Another factor shows this poor credit denies loans. Mortgage loan officers are extremely aggressive and make their fees off of closing loans. They would make a loan to anyone who would qualify. Race plays not factor in these decisions. Written by Paul Dribin
The above article was printed in the New York Times today. Secretary Carson has instructed staff not to issue any fair housing investigations at all. As a former HUD staffer, I can say with certainty that the threat of HUD sanctions prompted cities to move on these issues. While we are all focusing on Stormy Daniels, stuff like this happens. Written by Paul Dribin
Once again articles have appeared alleging racial discrimination in mortgage underwriting. The allegations are very simplistic, they are based on the fact that fewer African Americans than white Americans get approved for mortgage loans even adjusting for income.
There are several key factors that go into underwriting a loan that belie this argument. A huge factor in loan underwriting is the creditworthiness of the borrower. I have conducted research which has shown that a poor credit rating was the biggest predictor of loan default. It makes sense. People could have a lot of money, but if they don’t pay bills, they are a risk. The analyses conducted by fair housing groups don’t take credit history into account. They are not being accurate to state they are comparing like borrowers.
A second reason which supports the argument that we have a credit worthiness problem is the nature of the mortgage business. Mortgage loan officers are hugely competitive and derive their income from closing loans. I can speak from experience they fight aggressively for each deal. They are not going to pass up a commission because they may be prejudiced against people of color.
Underwriting standards need to be constantly reviewed to insure they are fair to all and capture as best they can the experience of racial minorities. We can get better results. But let’s not go in for simplistic analysis. Written by Paul Dribin
Missouri passed a law about six months ago which made filing a discrimination or fair housing complaint more difficult. Many in the know advised against it primarily for moral reasons, but also because of the potential for lawsuits and possibility of listing federal funding. Well, the predictions have come true. HUD has written that if the law is not changed by March 2018 federal funding for fair housing enforcement will be terminated. That is because the state law is no longer “substantially equivalent” to the federal law. It would be just deserts if Amazon opted not to come here due to our redneck ways. Written by Paul Dribin