For Black Americans, Financial Damage from Subprime Implosion Is Likely to Last

Ylan Q. Mui, Washington Post, July 8, 2012

The implosion of the subprime lending market has left a scar on the finances of black Americans—one that not only has wiped out a generation of economic progress but could leave them at a financial disadvantage for decades.


For blacks, the picture since the recession has been particularly grim. They disproportionately held subprime mortgages during the housing boom and are facing foreclosure in outsize numbers. That is raising fears among consumer advocates, academics and federal regulators that the credit scores of black Americans have been systematically damaged, haunting their financial futures.

The private companies that calculate credit scores say they do not consider race in their formulas. Lenders also say it is not a factor when deciding who qualifies for a loan; federal laws prohibit the practice. Still, studies have shown a persistent gap between the credit scores of white and black Americans, and many worry that it is only getting wider.


The Federal Reserve is collecting data on how the recession has affected credit scores by race, in what is expected to be significant research on the issue. But the widespread belief among economists, consumer advocates and community leaders is that black Americans are falling behind.


{snip} Data collected by the Federal Reserve from 2003—in the most comprehensive study on race and credit scoring to date—showed that less than a quarter of blacks had prime credit scores. Meanwhile, about 65 percent of whites were in this top tier.

The gap got wider as black and white Americans grew older, the Fed found. By age 75, the average black consumer’s credit score still had not reached the national average.


Banks and industry groups often cited low credit scores as one of the main reasons black consumers were denied loans at higher rates than whites. According to the 2000 Census, less than half of black households owned their homes, compared with nearly three-quarters of whites. Consumer advocates said the lack of credit in black neighborhoods was so pervasive it is dubbed “redlining.”

The housing boom helped change that. New financial instruments created by Wall Street helped generate enormous pools of money for mortgage lenders to distribute—and blacks were one of the largest untapped markets. Riskier borrowers with lower credit scores qualified for mortgages, albeit with higher interest rates and fees or unconventional terms.

At first, the shift was heralded as a way to help boost homeownership in black neighborhoods. The move also dovetailed with federal initiatives to promote fair lending. And the financial industry uncorked a lucrative new market that created jobs and drove the economy.

“There was a loan for almost anybody who wanted a loan. It was just priced differently based on credit,” Andrew Sandler, a lawyer for Wells Fargo, said of the industry at the time.

But the movement backfired. Borrowers with the new breed of subprime loans defaulted at alarming rates, sending the economy into a tailspin. Many of those mortgages were made using false information or shoddy underwriting. Instead of helping black communities build wealth, the lending boom destroyed it.

Pew Research Center analysis last year found that the wealth of blacks plunged 53 percent during the recession, driven by falling home prices. The average net worth of a black household in 2009 was $5,677, according to the study, the lowest of any racial group. {snip}


Civil rights groups say those personal anecdotes underscore a more fundamental fear: that the country is headed toward a kind of financial segregation.


Groups such as the NAACP and the National Urban League say the black middle class is shrinking as a result. Lisa Rice, vice president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, says the country suffers from what she has dubbed the “dual credit market.” Longtime civil rights attorney John Relman, who has won millions of dollars from companies such as Avis and Denny’s in discrimination lawsuits, has set his sights on the banks.

“Race and economic injustice always go together in this country,” Relman said.

A month ago, the Justice Department reached a $21 million settlement with SunTrust over what it called a “racial surtax” on home loans. For instance, it said black borrowers in Atlanta were charged $745 more in fees than white borrowers with similar credit histories and qualifications.

“SunTrust’s African American and Latino borrowers had no idea they could have gotten a better deal, no idea that white borrowers with similar credit would pay less,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said. “That is discrimination with a smile.”

The Justice Department also reached a $335 million settlement with Bank of America over similar charges last year and is investigating Wells Fargo. The banks have denied wrongdoing.



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  • Up to my neck in CA

    No wonder blacks hate White people so much. The DWLs treat them like mentally handicapped children and nothing is ever their fault. Deep down inside they know the truth and resent Whites for this attitude towards them, but need someone to blame for their own shortcomings. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    • Global Minority

      We really need to rid ourselves of the DWL’s. They are bad for everyone involed. And are the reason this country is so screwed. These people are insane.

    • Church_of_Jed

      The only reasonable way to deal with blacks is to avoid them. If you must encounter any, curtail it as soon as possible. 

      Damned if you do talk to blacks, damned if you don’t get a way from them asap.

    • alltoohuman

      Blacks are a lot like jews in that in their own minds, they are the perpetual victims of White racism and hate, when the truth is the complete opposite: it is Whites who are the victims of black and jewish hate and aggression.

  • This article is more wrong than wrongey wrongville.  Then again, “Ylan Q. Mui” is writing for the WaPo on financial issues, so that should explain it.

    I am glad that this didn’t try to ride the hobby horse of declining net worths, because that is easily refutable.  But I don’t think the credit scores of failed black subprime mortgage borrowers really declined that much because I don’t think they were that high before.  Why do you think they needed less than favorable interest rates?

    This part is also a FAIL:

    New financial instruments created by Wall Street helped generate
    enormous pools of money for mortgage lenders to distribute—and blacks
    were one of the largest untapped markets. Riskier borrowers with lower
    credit scores qualified for mortgages, albeit with higher interest rates
    and fees or unconventional terms.

    Ching Chong has cause and effect confused here.  It wasn’t that the questionable financial products caused subprime lending, it’s the other way around:  Subprime lending necessitated these phony baloney instruments, because the banks, knowing they had turkey mortgages on their hands, needed a way to con other suckers into buying these turkey receivables.  The phony baloney instruments were nothing more than putting a thick enough candy coating around the blob of mud (let’s call it mud, I have a different term in mind) just long enough to fool the buyers into thinking they were buying a lollipop with bubble gum in the middle.    Once the new owners of various packages of this “mud” discovered that the innards were mud and not gum, they wrapped the mud blobs up in new candy coatings to hawk to the next sucker.  Like a game of musical chairs, once the music stopped, or in this case, the foreclosures start racking up like they inevitably would, the last person holding the lollipops would be the one begging us for a bailout.

  • WmarkW

    I suspect AmRenners will come down on two sides of this issue, which really does illustrate a fundamental problem about race in America.  The “Steve Sailer,” or more liberal, side will say that blacks have been thrust into a society that’s too complicated for them; and that opportunities that are OK for whites are a danger to them who don’t have the IQ to deal with the complexities of high-risk opportunities.

    Conservatives will say that everyone is responsible for  their own decisions, and that our defense against over-regulation, usually written to favor low-skill minorities, should be to reduce the scope of government and let everyone sink or swim on merit.  Much as I sympathize with the holders of this view wanting to escape the racial favoritism of government, I still believe that corporate America will screw all people, black white or other, if given the chance.  And that we need to create enough regulations that people of low IQ are not deprived of what they ARE able to earn.   We need to re-create a regulatory environment that recognizes that differences in intelligence do exist, within and between races, and stop both giving dumb people enough rope to hang themselves, and blaming business for differential demographic success.


    • alastairabbacle

      Conservatives do believe that intelligence differences exist, and that differential demographic scores will happen due to different cultures of achievement.  Conservatives acknowledge that genetics may play a role in this.  

      But, as a rule, you do NOT want to government getting involved in genetics. Private citizens can be aware of this, and private organizations can tacitly know this, but it should not become part of the public sphere.  

      The government machinery implemented to “help” Blacks would just as easily be used to “help” Whites out of existence.  
      In pre-WWII Germany, Ashkenazi Jews scored higher on tests and worked hard.  They Germans got worried, and instituted government discrimination to reduce the number of Jews admitted to Universities and top fields. This was a BAD solution.  

      This is now happening to Whites.    So we want to government out.  

      • WhitesRdumb

         “In pre-WWII Germany, Ashkenazi Jews scored higher on tests and worked
        hard.  They Germans got worried, and instituted government
        discrimination to reduce the number of Jews admitted to Universities and
        top fields. This was a BAD solution.  ”

        Completely untrue.  You jews are always pushing your supremacists views.

        Explain how Germany, when it was controlled by jews, between 1919 and 1933 had virtually no scientific advances that weren’t started before the jews took control, but between 1933 and 1945, Germany, without jews, became the most technologically advanced country in the world.

        Explain how the Soviet Union which was 100% controlled by jews after the bolshevik revolution, had no scientific advancements that they didn’t steal from the US or Germany. They were virtually stagnent.

        Explain how Cuba, which was taken over by an imbecile jew named Castro, resembles the stone age.

        Explain why Israel continues to need trillions of dollars of US, European, Australian, Canadian, and everyone elses money to exist.

        Explain why supposedly intelligent jews come only from countries were they can steal the ideas and credit for an invention from others. Europeans can go anywhere in the world and come up with new idea. Jews can only come up with new ideas in westernized countries.

        Explain why every white European country could start a new colony in another part of the world, but jews with all their money could never figure out how to do it themselves. Parasites can only feed off something that is living.

        Please stop posting your jewish supremacist propaganda. I know you are doing it to get a response like I posted so you can claim to be a victim of anti-semitism (even though you jews are not Semites).

        •  *  “Germany was controlled by Jews from 1919 to 1933.” 

          *  Fidel Castro was Jewish.

          *  “The Soviet Union was 100% controlled by Jews after the Bolshevik Revolution.”

          New ones on me.  I guess you learn something new every day, unless you don’t.

          There was a blog called Guy White who answered this “Soviet-Jewish” hobby horse by proving that there was never any real disproportion between the Jewish percentage of the Communist Party even at the peak of its “Jewishness” and the Jewish percentage of the population of the USSR in general.

          Your other two points are too idiotic for me to respond to.

          • The__Bobster


            There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creating of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistic Jews.

            It is certainly the very great one; it probably outweighs all others.

            With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews.

            Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders…

            Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate, Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd), or of Krassin or Radek – all Jews.

    • Rocky Bass,

       I say that any who are not able to cope with freedom, due to low IQ or poor impulse control or any other reason, should be shipped to a safer land for their kind.

  • bubo

    Groups such as the NAACP and the National Urban League say the black middle class is shrinking as a result.

    There is no real black middle class.   Whatever constitutes the black middle class is based completely on the government’s ability, local, state and federal, to provide them with jobs.   Nothing more.  If the feds stopped the jobs programs like the IRS, USPS, Amtrak, USDA, HUD an many others, the artificial black middle class would collapse.  

    Longtime civil rights attorney John Relman, who has won millions of dollars from companies such as Avis and Denny’s in discrimination lawsuits, has set his sights on the banks.

    I think they mean “extorted.”

    • alastairabbacle

      “is based completely on the government’s ability, local, state and federal, to provide them with jobs.   Nothing more. ”

      There are many Blacks who have achieved well in work, regardless of this.

      Would you prefer Blacks revert to being able to blame racism (for real racism) on not advancing?   

      • The__Bobster

        I prefer that the few talented ones not have everyone think that they got where they are through AA preferences. I know they would.

        The untalented ones don’t deserve to advance on the backs of others.

        • Rocky Bass,

           Yes, as it is everyone I know knows a black holding a college degree is maybe the equivalent of  a white with a GED, if your lucky. One particular black I knew comes to mind that worked for an oil field services company. The man had been promoted several times to move him out of places where he was doing the company damage. He could not read a blueprint, so finally the dept he was a supervisor in decided to have a diagram reading class (just to get him up to speed), the jerk didn’t show up for the class! The class that EVERY white on the floor DIDN’T EVEN NEED! The examples of AA putting totally unqualified idiots over good knowledgeable people are legion. This has to STOP!  

          • WhitesRdumb

            “The man had been promoted several times to move him out of places where he was doing the company damage.”

            Sounds like the US Army. They promoted blacks to a higher rank. Their incompetence continued to show: Navigating a platoon into a mock mine field; calling artillary down on their own position; calling artillery down on the adjacent city; losing firearms, running over firearms with a tracked vehicle (tank); unable to tell time and be at the required position;… etc. The only thing blacks were good at is getting out of doing work, and blaming whites for everything that went wrong.

        • alastairabbacle

          Thumbs up. Either they are seen as a group deserving of special treatment, or Blacks see themselves as individuals capable of achieving in their own terms. They can have patronizing “diversity”, or they can slowly achieve respect. The time to civilize the Black race in America will take centuries, not decades. Until then, Blacks are free to either break away from the pack, or forge ahead while cutting ties with those who make them look bad.

  • Global Minority

    First of all banks don’t care what color your skin is, as long as your deemed credit worthy they really do want to lend you money. However, the banks were FORCED by the “Community Reinvestment Act” to lend to people not deemed credit worthy and hence the sub prime loans became the means of lending to people who were credit risks! And we see the result.

    • The__Bobster Coulter covering the “Diversity Recession” deserves a prize just for the title: “They Gave Your Mortgage To A Less Qualified Minority.” There’s more deep Nexis research discussing the roots of the crisis if you read the whole thing.Under Clinton, the entire federal government put massive pressure on banks to grant more mortgages to the poor and minorities. Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo, investigated Fannie Mae for racial discrimination and proposed that 50 percent of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s portfolio be made up of loans to low- to moderate-income borrowers by the year 2001.Instead of looking at “outdated criteria,” such as the mortgage applicant’s credit history and ability to make a down payment, banks were encouraged to consider nontraditional measures of credit-worthiness, such as having a good jump shot or having a missing child named “Caylee.”Threatening lawsuits, Clinton’s Federal Reserve demanded that banks treat welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. That isn’t a joke — it’s a fact.When Democrats controlled both the executive and legislative branches, political correctness was given a veto over sound business practices.In 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein hailed the Clinton administration’s affirmative action lending policies as one of the “hidden success stories” of the Clinton administration, saying that “black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded.”Meanwhile, economists were screaming from the rooftops that the Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail the moment the housing market slowed and deadbeat borrowers couldn’t get out of their loans by selling their houses.A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it’s gone off.[ – Archived Article: They Gave Your Mortgage To A Less Qualified Minority]

      • Strider73

        Don’t go letting the Stupid Party off the hook. Congress was under Republican control after 1994 and could have put a stop to this buffoonery by shutting off the money spigot and/or reining in the CRA. But they were too busy pandering to minorities themselves to prevent the housing bubble from inflating.

    • Up to my neck in CA

      Too true, banks only care about one color….GREEN.

  • Housekeeping:  Disqus is going through its evening crazies.  The backend is lagging an hour and a half behind what’s visible to the public, as I write this.

    • tickyul

      They get backed up because they are the BEST sounding board on the internet. With Disqus it is very easy to keep up with your posts and replies…….direct links to your comments and follow-ups…..that is just amazing.


      • That’s why AR uses Disqus.  Overall, we are pleased.

        But I will inform you when Disqus does go through its evening crazies, (and it was going through them this morning), because for those who aren’t registered, and their comments must be moderated, their comments are in a state of purgatory during the delay time, i.e. not visible online (because they need to be moderated) and not available for the moderators to read (because of the delay).

        • tickyul

          Nice to know, thanks for the information…….keep up the great work.

  • APaige

    The whole basis of mortgage discrimination was WRONG. Blacks were turned down more often for loans, but the default rates were similar to whites-that means the ‘process’ (credit checks, length of employment, etc.) of obtaining a mortage was sound. If blacks had LOWER default rates-that would indicate a ‘problem’ or issue with the process. The government, civil rights groups, and the rest were looking at the wrong rates-and everyone suffers.

    • The__Bobster

      Mortgage Lending—fewer blacks per capita can qualify for mortgages, and this is considered racist. Peter Brimelow pointed out in 1993 that default rates tended to be the same, which means that banks were using color-blind measures of ability to repay (banks want to lend money, but of course, they want it back, too). But still, recently John Edwards was crying “racism” at the idea that blacks pay higher rates on average.

    • holyflower

      Absolutely, APaige and The Bobster.  Default rate is the key:

      1996 – A study by the  Federal Reserve System and academic specialists finds — like the 1993 Forbes investigation — no evidence “of substantial levels of bias in mortgage lending.” Quoting from the abstract of the study:

      “Results of the analysis fail to find evidence of better performance on loans granted to minority borrowers. Indeed, black borrowers are found, all else being equal, to exhibit ahigher likelihood of mortgage default than other borrowers. These findings argueagainst allegations of substantial levels of bias in mortgage lending.”

  • Uncle Ruckus

    Two thoughts:

    1)  Blacks don’t need any help from a “subprime mortgage crisis” to have bad credit scores, “financial disadvantage,” or to be broke.  It’s in their nature to be gibbsme recipients for eternity.  For whites, it’s just a question of whether we want to let them get their gibbsme here, or back in their natural habitat.

    2)  Gibbing blacks green gibbsme all got started as an attempt to reduce racism . . . now you’re telling me it has resulted in MORE racism?  

    Ha-ha-ha . . . Just more evidence that there truly is a God and He is white!

  • Major

    Oh God…does this mean another 50 years of “leveling” the playing field and trillions more wasted on their obvious incompetence and ignorance?

    Have the last 50 years been flushed down the black hole? Have the “progressives” done anything for these so called “oppressed” except to guarantee they’ll forever be on the teat? Dancing under the strings the racist dems have tied them to?

    How could it get any worse than this?

    • ed91

       50 years more?

      you must be kidding……..  blacks will never give up their gravy train willingly

  • First, blacks have never, will never, can never be American and second, if all the advantages afforded them Today cain’t help, nothing will.

    No one feels more sorry for blacks than me and this is on top of what they’ve done to me personally.  I feel terrible for them.  My cousin paid them a dollar an hour right up to the very moment The Government threatened him with Prison and even with the pay raise, they didn’t know no different.  They wasted it.  Drunkards and Druggards is what most turned out to be when left to their own ways.  Don’t blame me for advocating for Control.

    Wells Fargo – Look it up Good People.  They have Set-Asides for All EXCEPT for you White Men. I mean to say, they set aside loan money for “African-Americans” too.  Everyone but you..  I mean, how can holder dare mention Banks?  LOTS of Banks have Special Set-Asides.

  • By 2008 it was clear the CRA was a catastrophe  that brought the worlds financial markets to it knees, but in 2009, the Democrats and obama actually wanted to expand the CRA! the bill had 50 co-sponsors. lucky for us the bill did not make it out of committee.  Obama championed the CRA all through his community organizing days working for ACORN, and even after the 08 collapse he wanted still wanted to expand the CRA. that should tell americans how little obama understands economics and that he is agenda driven.

  • KenelmDigby

    Just who are the real victims of this litany of black irresponsibility, deceit, fraud and treachery?

    – the real moral here is that blacks cannot be trusted, not on the personal level of social interaction or indeed in the professional world of the business contract. To put it bluntly, a black will welsh on any deal he has made as soon as he gets the opportunity to do so. Call me a unpleasant bigot if you like, but just bear my words in mind if you ever have to deal with a black, they might save you some trouble.

    Anyhow, the real victims of this deceit are the hundreds of millions of good and worthy citizens in the USA, Britain, Europe and elsewhere, who through no fault of their own, have been pauperized by government stupidity and pandering to ‘minorities’ in this whole sorry disaster.

    • Rocky Bass,

       Sage advice there friend. I would take it you too have delt with with blacks in the past.

  • KenelmDigby

    I’ve heard that amongst the drug taking fraternity black dealers are to be avoided.
     Not only will you be disappointed in not getting your illicit goods, your money and possibly your life will be taken too.

  • Rocky Bass,

     They don’t have a problem one with taking white graft! They are not bothered by condescension in the least, being expected to produce a damn thing on their own, now that surely does offend the heck out of them though!

    • LaSantaHermandad

      But they want to wipe us all out!  They don’t get it. IF all the fur bearing animals e.g dogs. cats, rabbits, gerbils etc. disappeared, what would fleas do?

      • Rocky Bass,

         I have often likened the black panther call to kill off the “crackers” as being analogous to ticks discussing how best to kill off the pesky dogs.

  • Shawn_thefemale

    Whine, whine, whine. Those poor blacks.   How do they even manage to get up in the mornings with that heavy white boot firmly placed on their necks??  And that gem of minority sympathy written by that good old American,  Ylan Q. Mui.

    • Rocky Bass,

      One wonders how to go about the task of removing our racist boots from their respective necks, what with AA having placed them firmly on our backs so long ago. We racist honky crackas are some skillful little beggers aren’t we?

  • alltoohuman

    Go look up the Holodomor, Solomon Morel, the white slave market in Israel, the torture during the Nuremberg trials, and who ran the NKVD and Cheka and then tell me Whites aren’t the victims of jews.

    • LaSantaHermandad

      I was pointing out the fact that the most immediate danger we face these days originates with Blacks. 
      I will investigate what you suggested but you might look up the number of White victims of Blacks and you’ll find out that many of them were Jews. 

      • “many of them were jews.” Not enough,my friend,not enough.

    •  Look up the “Dancing Israelis”  with re to 9/11. Look up John of Norwood,the English boy captured by the jews and used in their blood ritual crucifixions.

  • davejon

    A BBC crime reporter – Tom Symonds – was mugged in London, man with a knife took his phone, cash card and his dignity (if he had any left), and Tom gave a moving description of  it on BBC Radio 4. Asked by interested parties if the mugger “was black” he claims it “was not relevant”. Make what you will of that and wonder why Tom keeps looking over his shoulder as he walks home – does he deserve it for failing to broadcast the truth? I think so. London is a multiracial cess pit – are you coming to the Olympics?

  •  “The banks figured out that there was even more money to be made by
    giving HUGE mortages to janitors, garbage men, junkies, convicts”

    The banks never thought it was a good idea to give mortgages to these people, it was only when Clinton and Jim Johnson reconfigured fannie mae to buy up all the sub-prime mortgages, then banks could issue the mortgages to high risk borrowers. With fannie mae buying all the mortgages, the banks had no risk and they went along with clinton’s scheme, because if they didn’t, they had no hope of ever expanding. It’s was  when fannie mae sold the bundled up mortgages around the world that the black cancer went malignant.

  • “Race and economic injustice always go together in this country,”  Maybe, I don’t know but I’ve worked in the building trade for some weatlthy black people.
    I am not a home owner and never have been.  That’s because I didn’t qualify for a loan.  I was told that if I lied about my income and supposed ‘wealth’ that I would be able to get a loan and buy a house.  However, even with my rather poor math skills I could add up the shortfall and knew that I’d not be able to make the mortgage payments.  I’m an average Free White Guy and cannot honestly blame anyone for my financial situation.  I do well with what I have and don’t need to lie to appear to be better off.

  • davejon

    Ah ah! trouble comes back to bite the egalitarians on their backsides! They will persist in failing to take Nature into account, whether it be the Feminazis who ignore male/female differences or the race relations industry and the criminal justice system who choose to ignore all the evidence for fundamental genetic based differences between blacks and whites, average group IQ chiefly amongst them. The question is, just how much longer will it be before their folly becomes exposed and a reaction occurs? What sort of reaction will it be? – I don’t know what’s happened to the white British population, they seem like sheep, no fight, cowed down, weary – but I guess that’s what you get when the elites ignore Nature and dictate to their people. I hope the Yanks have got a bit more fight – usually what happens in the US eventually happens in the UK  – so do something!!

  •  The main reason the houses increased in value was precisely because of the “ignore all standards no down payment” mortgages being drawn.  With no down payment, there was no governor on the mortgage principal amounts, so as they kept swelling, so did real estate values, especially in environmentally sensitive areas, the “sand states” according to Sailer.

  •  As insane as Carter and Clinton were to do what they did, their parts of the responsibility for the subprime crisis, the sine qua non was Bush’s call for no down payment mortgages, as DPs were “discriminatory.”  (Duh.  That’s the point.  To discriminate against people who have no personal financial discipline.)

    I’m hearing some of the same rhetoric out of the generic Republican as I did from Bush that was used as justification for eliminating down payments.