Industry NewsMortgage

DOJ using mortgage data to ID high-cost loans to minorities

Consumer groups urge more stringent enforcement

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The U.S. Department of Justice is using loan-level data collected from lenders to investigate whether minorities are targeted for higher-priced loans, but consumer and civil rights groups say not enough is being done to combat unfair lending practices. Since last fall, the Federal Reserve Board and FDIC have referred five suspected cases of unfair lending practices to the DOJ, said Grace Chung Becker, deputy assistant attorney general in the Attorney General's Civil Rights Division. The DOJ has opened "several investigations" based on those referrals and its own analysis of loan data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Becker said. Testifying before members of the House Financial Services Committee this week, Becker said HMDA pricing data has provided the DOJ with "a welcome, additional source of information for identifying potential investigations." But the data is only a starting point for determining whether lenders target minorities. HMDA data has shown minorities ar...