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CUOMO SAYS HUD SEEKING TO END MORTGAGE LENDING DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said a new report issued today that shows lenders are continuing to turn down minorities more often than whites for home mortgages shows the need for a comprehensive study of mortgage lending discrimination that he ordered in March.
"The American Dream of homeownership is not reserved for whites," Cuomo said. "We will not tolerate a continued homeownership gap as wide as the Grand Canyon that divides Americans into two societies, separate and unequal. Eliminating housing and lending discrimination is vital to making the opportunity for homeownership a reality for all Americans."
HUD's study of mortgage lending discrimination, which is being conducted by the Urban Institute in Washington and will be completed by the end of the year, will help HUD intensify its crackdown on mortgage lending discrimination and increase the minority homeownership rate, Cuomo said. The crackdown begun by Cuomo has obtained record commitments from lenders so far this year to make nearly $4 billion in mortgage loans to settle lending discrimination allegations.
Cuomo said HUD is closely monitoring complaints of mortgage lending discrimination and using testing to ferret out unlawful practices that treat whites and minorities differently.
Cuomo said that while the U.S. homeownership rate rose to 66 percent of all households in the second quarter of this year - tying the all-time record rate set in the 3rd quarter of 1997 - there is a huge gap in the homeownership rate between different groups: 72.5 percent of white households are homeowners, but only 45.3 percent of black households and 43.9 percent of Hispanic households own their own homes.
Cuomo's comments today came in response to a new report by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council on mortgage lending activity.
HUD is responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act, which bars housing and mortgage lending discrimination on account of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status and national origin. The Act covers the sale, rental, financing and advertising of almost all housing in the nation.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009