PNS Daily Newscast - October 18, 2019 

Baltimore mourns Rep. Elijah Cummings, who 'Fought for All.' Also on our rundown: Rick Perry headed for door as Energy Secretary; and EPA holds its only hearing on rolling back methane regulations.

2020Talks - October 18, 2019 

While controversy swirls at the White House, the Chicago Teachers Union goes on strike, and retired Admiral Joe Sestak walks 105 miles across New Hampshire.

Daily Newscasts

Are OR Mortgage Lenders Unfair to Minority Buyers?

February 1, 2008

Portland, OR – Today an Oregon Senate committee takes up a bill to rein in mortgage lenders and brokers, and a new report gives just one indication of why that might be necessary. The Oregon Center for Public Policy found a racial pattern in its analysis of mortgage loan data for 2006. The group stops short of calling it "racism," because many factors go into the type of mortgage offered to a buyer.

However, the Center's Mike Leachman says a disproportionate share of subprime loans in Oregon clearly go to minority buyers, no matter what their income level.

"For middle-income African-Americans and Latinos, about half of middle-income borrowers were getting subprime loans in 2006; for whites, it was only about 25 percent. So about half--and if you look at lower-income borrowers or high-income borrowers, the disparity is similar."

The report also looked specifically at the lending practices of Washington Mutual and found that most of its minority customers were given loans through a subsidiary, called Long Beach Mortgage. Leachman says nine out of 10 of the Long Beach loans were subprime. Last month, Washington Mutual, facing a high number of loan defaults, closed the doors on its subprime operation.

Leachman says buyers assume a mortgage broker is acting in their best interest and shopping for the best deal on a loan, but the research shows that isn't necessarily true.

"Mortgage brokers in Oregon are allowed to get a kickback when they bring a loan to a lender that is more costly than the borrower could have qualified for, and Senate Bill 1090 would ban that kind of kickback."

Leachman says although federal laws are also being changed to avert a foreclosure crisis, Oregon could be doing more to ensure that mortgage lenders treat all borrowers fairly.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR