The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line

Commercial banks and S&Ls confidently assure loan applicants that under federal law, qualifying for a home mortgage isn't a black-and-white issue -- it's green. Theoretically and legally, the sole criterion is whether the borrower can repay the loan. But a new nationwide survey by the Federal Reserve Board shows that in 1991 banks denied home mortgages to 37% of all black applicants but only 17% of whites. Sadly, income disparities don't account for the gap. Even among the highest income blacks, 23% of applicants were denied loans, vs. 9% for whites of comparable income.

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