National Community Reinvestment Coalition alleges that lenders are disproportionately limiting people of color’s access to credit
Lack of credit availability is a key concern for the housing market recovery. Lenders are tightening standards as foreclosures and other recession-related negative credit events are taking a hit on many borrowers’ credit scores. For example, the Federal Housing Administration recently changed their policy so that they will only insure loans to borrowers with a credit score of 580 or higher for their standard lending program. However, reports have shown that some FHA-approved lenders are requiring even higher standards for FHA loans. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, on whose board Regional HOPI partner and Woodstock Institute president Dory Rand sits, is taking issue with that practice. NCRC recently filed fair housing complaints with federal regulators alleging that many top FHA lenders have underwriting policies that disparately restrict people of color from access to credit.
Through a series of “secret shopper” investigations, NCRC discovered that many of the top 50 FHA lenders would not offer home loans to borrowers with scores between 580 and 620. A large percentage of people of color fall into that range of scores.