DMI Blog

Elana Levin

Predatory Mortgage Lending— they beat it there, can we beat it here?

From the news to your neighborhoods the mortgage crisis, in particular the predatory mortgages crisis weighs heavily on the minds of anyone concerned with the health of functional communities and the health of the world financial market.

That's big stuff.
That's not insurmountably big stuff though.

Minnesota's Attorney General Lori Swanson took the problem head-on and devised a law that is now the toughest anti-predatory mortgage lending law in the nation. It is being considered as a piece of model legislation at the state and federal level.

New York has historically been a leader in the fight against predatory lending practices . But if the for sale signs in the city's working class communities -- especially communities that are predominately racial minorities like Southeast Queens continue to have some of the highest foreclosure rates in the city than clearly our laws need to catch up with our needs. In fact just yesterday the New York City Council "called on bank regulators to scrutinize companies that issue predatory loans."

As DMI Fellow Mark Winston Griffith wrote in Alternet,

"A study by the Center for Responsible Lending documented that African Americans and Latinos get high-priced mortgages far more frequently than whites -- even when they are equally qualified for prime loans... For proof of this, all one has to do is go to South Queens, where blacks have higher incomes than their white Queens counterparts, but pay more for credit and are losing their homes through foreclosure at epidemic rates..."

"Sub-prime lending often works as self-fulfilling prophecy. The most efficient way to ruin a person's credit, and thus make him or her truly eligible for a sub-prime loan, is to make a loan unaffordable, or indiscriminately jack up the price of the loan after a few years, to a person who has a good credit history, but whose income is unlikely to rise along with the payments. For those of us involved in anti-predatory lending organizing and advocacy, we talk to people everyday who never missed a loan payment in their lives until they received a sub-prime mortgage."

Clearly there's a lot more to this issue -- one that we often explore on the DMIBlog. That's why I'd like to invite you all to come to our October 11th Marketplace of Ideas Event (yeah that's Thursday!) featuring MN Attorney General Lori Swanson. She will speak on Minnesota’s predatory mortgage lending law which requires lenders to verify borrowers’ ability to repay their loan and bans refinancing loans without benefit to the borrower among other anti-predatory measures.

She will be joined by a panel that includes three New York leaders; Councilman James A Sanders Jr., Sarah Ludwig, the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project and Richard H. Neiman, the Superintendent of Banking for New York State.

157 William Street (at Ann Street, 1 block north of Fulton Street) New York, NY 10038
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2007 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Elana Levin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 9:22 AM, Oct 08, 2007 in Drum Major Institute | Financial Justice | Middle-class squeeze | New York | States
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