WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is launching multiple investigations into the practices of certain mortgage lenders to determine if their home loan policies illegally deny qualified African American and Latino borrowers access to credit.
The investigations are in response to 22 complaints the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) filed with HUD alleging that the loan activities of the mortgage originators showed that their home lending practices deny FHA- insured loans to African Americans and Latinos with credit scores as high as 640. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guidelines allow mortgages to borrowers with credit scores above 580, provided the borrowers have down payments equaling 3.5 percent of the loan amount, or above 500, provided the borrowers have down payments equaling 10 percent of the loan amount.
“FHA is an important vehicle for Americans who want to purchase or refinance a home. We thank NCRC for bringing these complaints to HUD. For lenders to deny responsible home seekers this source of credit, without regard for their capacity to repay the loans, would raise serious fair housing concerns and, if proven, undermine our nation’s recovery efforts,” said HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasviña. “HUD will take appropriate action against any lender found to be engaging in discriminatory practices.”
Under the Fair Housing Act, HUD impartially investigates allegations of housing discrimination and, during every phase of investigations, attempts to settle complaints through conciliation efforts.
FHA was created in 1934 and currently insures more than 6.5 million single family loans. 80 percent of loans insured by FHA in 2010 were to first-time homebuyers and more than 30 percent of home purchase loans were to minority homebuyers.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY). ###
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.gov and espanol.gov.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 451 7th Street S.W., Washington, DC 20410 Telephone: (202) 708-1112 TTY: (202) 708-1455