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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the tag “mortgage lending”

Container Houses

The Post recently wrote of a couple in Old North St. Louis who are building a house consisting of storage containers. As long as the housing meets code, why not? The sad part of the story is that lenders are not willing to make mortgage loans on the north side. Isn’t that redlining? Written by Paul Dribin

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The Real Story Behind Racial Disparities in Mortgage Lending

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

Real Facts Behind Alleged Racial Discrimination in Mortgage Underwriting

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

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