Reveal, February 15, 2018: How we identified lending disparities in federal mortgage data
In 1968, the Fair Housing Act outlawed lending institutions the ability to deny mortgages to people in neighborhoods with large populations of immigrants and African Americans. However, in dozens of cities across the country, African Americans, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans remain more likely to be denied a conventional mortgage than whites.
Reveal’s analysis was based on publicly available data released through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, or HDMA, and maintained by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. The act, passed in 1975, requires mortgage lenders to report basic data about loan applications to ensure fair lending practices.
Reveal’s analysis exposed a pattern of denials in major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, St. Louis and San Antonio and in smaller ones such as Chico, California; Iowa City, Iowa; and Mobile, Alabama.