Next City, November 27th, 2017: “Mystery Shopper” Experiment Reveals Racial Gap in Small Business Lending
Earlier this year, in a large metropolitan area of the eastern United States, two men walked into the same bank branch on the same day, each at different times of the day.
They each came in with nearly identical business backgrounds and strong credit histories, and they each asked about a small business loan of $60,000-$70,000 to expand their business and to possibly hire a part-time employee. There were some key differences, like each man’s name and their company names — and their race.
Each was asked about the location of their business — about an hour away from the bank, they both said. The black business owner was then asked why he was in area, and he responded as directed by saying that he was in the area to meet with a potential client. The white business owner was not asked the same question.
That was one of many examples of “micro-aggressions” documented as part of a new study documenting discrimination against black business owners, done in partnership between university business professors and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a national network of grassroots groups focused on creating opportunities to build wealth.
Photo Credit: Vitaly