IS REDLINING STILL ALIVE?

America’s top banks gave Oakland’s black borrowers just four home loans in 2013. Four.

Wilson Hui/flickr

A new report has found profound racial disparities in mortgage lending in California, and especially in three major cities in the Golden State.

The study, co-produced by the Greenlining Institute and Urban Strategies Council, found that in 2013, the top-12 lenders helped African American borrowers purchase a mere four homes in Oakland, while Hispanic borrowers received just seven home purchase loans. Here’s the table, showing the overall breakdown and their share of Oakland’s population.

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Among all lenders, blacks accounted for just 6% of all originations despite comprising 29% of the city’s population.

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The same disparities could be found statewide, with blacks comprising just 2% of all originations despite making up 6% of the state’s population.

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The study also looked at lending in the cities of Long Beach and Fresno, and found a similar phenomenon among lending to blacks: just 21 home loans in the former, and 18 in the latter.

“As the nation recovered from the recent economic crisis, the majority of Californians were locked out of the 2013 housing market—missing the most affordable time to buy a home,” the study found. “44% of California’s residents—the combined African American and Hispanic populations—obtained just 10.5% of total mortgage dollars lent by the top 12 lenders statewide. Sadly, these disparities were more pronounced in three cities where African Americans and Hispanics averaged 56% of the population.”

It is unlikely these disparities are limited to California. Just prior to finding California lender Provident showed discriminatory behavior in its lending patterns, the Justice Department sanctioned a Wisconsin bank for doing the same thing.

“The law is clear: access to mortgage loans may not be made more difficult because of an applicant’s race or national origin,” the Department said.