Mortgage Denied

Harrisburg – February 4, 2019 – Continuing his fight against modern day redlining, Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) has proposed legislation to prevent mortgage discrimination on the basis of race in Pennsylvania.

Sen. Hughes is seeking co-sponsors for the Pennsylvania Community Reinvestment Act to provide additional safeguards in the residential mortgage market. The proposal is modeled after the federal Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, but also provides measures to root out racial disparities in lending practices. Such a measure is needed because of the increasingly clear signs of racial discrimination in lending, particularly in Philadelphia, Sen. Hughes noted pointing to award-winning reporting by the “Reveal” project from the Center of Investigative Reporting (CIR).

“What we’re seeing in Philadelphia is akin to the discriminatory lending practices that created systemic inequality all over this country,” Sen. Hughes said. “We need to be in a position to take action across Pennsylvania and tell banks they cannot continue to discriminate against black and brown borrowers without repercussions. We must also have policies in place to protect our people from lending discrimination.”

The CIR found that banks in Philadelphia were two and a half times more likely to deny loans to African American applicants than white applicants with comparable income. Reporting further described Philadelphia’s lending patterns as similar to what occurred in the 1930s when lending discrimination was legal.

One of the major consequences of mortgage discrimination is how it keeps people of color from building wealth. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show the median net worth for an African American family is $9,000 and $12,000 for Latino families. White families are more likely to be homeowners and thus fare far better, holding a median net worth of $132,000.

Sen. Hughes has fought for the people of Philadelphia on this issue since the problem was uncovered, joining local, state, and federal officials to investigate the banks with systemic reform in mind. The senator is also working with housing advocates and activists to address myriad fair housing issues across the city.