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EXCLUSIVE: After little progress on lending discrimination, a mortgage fairness crisis looms

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This article originally ran in USA TODAY

You have a fair shot at getting a mortgage – if you’re white or Asian. For every other race, “mortgage fairness,” which is already at low levels, could be sinking further. 

That’s according to an analysis of 350 million mortgage applications from 1990 to 2021 through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The data shows that fairness for Black and Native American mortgage applicants may plunge to “almost housing crisis levels,” if historical patterns mirror what happened when interest rates surge, according to an analysis by fintech company FairPlay AI, shared exclusively with USA TODAY.

Another reason it’s about to get worse: the stimulus money and forbearance programs that boosted creditworthiness – and a fairer shot at approval – for Black homebuyers in 2021, have dried up.

Long considered the economic stepping stone to the middle class and generational wealth, Black Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics risk losing that avenue to wealth. 

“We’re in the middle of a mortgage fairness crisis today,” FairPlay CEO/founder and report co-author Kareem Saleh told USA TODAY. “It’s not going to show up for another several months until these lenders are forced to report this data sometime in 2023. But the unfairness is happening now.”