Predatory Bankers Target African-Americans

A new study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition finds that home lenders target African Americans and Latino consumers for high-interest, predatory loans, as reported in today's Washington Post:

About 29 percent of African Americans who bought or refinanced homes last year ended up with high-cost loans, compared with only about 10 percent of white Americans, according to an a consumer advocacy group's analysis of new data from 15 large national lenders.

About 15 percent of Hispanics received such loans offered to borrowers with damaged credit, known as sub-prime loans, according to the analysis conducted by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which represents 640 nonprofit organizations.

This is in line with recent studies by the Center for Responsible Lending, and what Southern Exposure found in our report "Banking On Misery," which investigated the predatory practices of Citibank and other lending institutions.

For example, see these maps of Atlanta and Charlotte (PDFs) from SE'sinvestigation, which clearly show how high-interest "subprime" loan offices are routinely stationed in black neighborhoods. Regardless of your credit record, your loan terms will be a lot worse if you walk into one of these predatory operations.

Predatory banking is a big reason why people are trapped in debt, and another reason to oppose the bankruptcy reform bill which goes before the U.S. House this week.