The Intercept: After boasting about lowering black unemployment, the Trump administration undermines the federal unit defending against housing discrimination

The Intercept, February 1, 2018: After boasting about lowering black unemployment, the Trump administration undermines the federal unit defending against housing discrimination

On Tuesday night, Donald Trump stood before the nation and boasted about the lowest unemployment rate on record for African-Americans. But just hours before his State of the Union address, his lieutenant and handpicked head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney, told staff in an email that he was seizing control of the unit responsible for policing anti-lending-discrimination laws.

CFPB Acting Director Mulvaney, in a previously unreported move, said that he would be putting the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity, or OFLEO, under his direct control, startling consumer protection and civil rights advocates, and raising concerns that the office would be unable to carry out its mission — and that, indeed, that was the very purpose of the shift.

“Opening up the floodgates on lending discrimination will damage the ability for people of color to build wealth,” said Debbie Goldstein, executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending.

The entire point of Congress mandating OFLEO in Dodd-Frank was to ensure that racial discrimination and fair lending cases would have a baseline level of resources and support at the CFPB. By splitting the agency, financial reform advocates say, Mulvaney is deemphasizing what Congress had defined as a top priority.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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