The racial bias in predatory lending

A new study in the American Sociological Review explores how race impacted predatory lending and the larger U.S. housing crisis:

Poorer minority areas became a focus of these practices in the 1990s with the growth of mortgage-backed securities, which enabled lenders to pool low- and high-risk loans to sell on the secondary market, Professor Douglas Massey of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and PhD candidate Jacob Rugh, said in their study.

The financial institutions likely to be found in minority areas tended to be predatory — pawn shops, payday lenders and check cashing services that “charge high fees and usurious rates of interest,” they said in the study.

“By definition, segregation creates minority dominant neighborhoods, which, given the legacy of redlining and institutional discrimination, continue to be underserved by mainstream financial institutions,” the study says.

The larger tale is that minority neighborhoods still do not have the same access to banks and lending institutions that non-minority neighborhoods enjoy. While the practices are now less covert (no redlining, restrictive deeds and covenants, riots when minorities moved into white neighborhoods), there are still clear race lines in American lending. These lending patterns have a strong impact on where people live, contributing to residential segregation (as seen in these maps).

One thought on “The racial bias in predatory lending

  1. Pingback: Why Americans love suburbs #3: race and exclusion | Legally Sociable

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