New York homeowners who took out mortgages last year continue to be burdened with unfavorable terms like high interest rates and hidden fees, according to a study released Wednesday by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
In its examination of home mortgage data in 60 metropolitan areas nationwide, ACORN found that in New York City, almost half of all refinanced mortgages were from sub-prime lenders. The numbers are even worse for minorities in the city: African-American homeowners in urban areas are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to receive a sub-prime loan.
To explain this trend, members of the lending industry often say minorities are more likely to receive high-cost loans only because they’re more likely to have bad credit. Not so, says ACORN. The study found that even among upper-income New Yorkers, more than 46 percent of African-Americans received sub-prime loans, compared to only 17 percent of white borrowers.
“We haven’t seen enough done to make sure that low-income and minority borrowers get access to the best loans possible,” said Valerie Coffin, a national researcher with ACORN and one of the authors of the report. A coalition of more than 60 consumer, housing and banking groups, including ACORN, say a strong state law could really protect borrowers, and they are backing the Responsible Lending Act, a bill that seeks to define and stop abusive lending. The bill passed the state Assembly in July and will be debated by the Senate banking committee in December or January.