Reveal: Chase rarely lends to people of color in DC – and it’s probably legal

Reveal, March 22, 2018: Chase rarely lends to people of color in DC – and it’s probably legal

Across the street from the White House is the U.S. capital’s only outpost of the nation’s largest bank. It is not technically a branch, so, Chase doesn’t have to abide by the Community Reinvestment Act. Even though Chase rarely lends to low-income residents or people of color in the district, who make up a majority of the region’s population, it is not breaking the law.

“Branches are really important,” said John Taylor, president and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, an advocacy organization. “They are not in a place where someone can be walking by and talk to a loan officer and get a mortgage. You’re talking about a significant portion of people who want loans and excluding that option for them.”

Chase is one of the biggest lenders in the Washington area. Yet African Americans received just 23 of the 1,119 conventional home purchase loans Chase made in the metro area in 2015 and 2016, according to government lending data reviewed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Chase concentrated its lending in affluent white neighborhoods – such as the district’s Chevy Chase, American University Park and the Rosemont section of Alexandria, Virginia. But rarely made loans in higher-income African American neighborhoods, including middle-class Woodridge and Prince George’s County, Maryland.

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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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