The Intercept, March 12, 2018: Democrats offer last-minute, pretend defense of fair lending laws, as they prepare to weaken them
In a final indignity, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., has offered an amendment essentially striking a controversial provision from bipartisan bank deregulation bill S.2155 that would limit tools prosecutors use to detect mortgage lending discrimination, while acknowledging that the amendment probably wouldn’t get a vote — and wouldn’t be necessary for his ultimate support.
At issue is Section 104, which exempts all banks and credit unions issuing 500 mortgages or less a year from enhanced Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, or HMDA, data requirements used to identify lending discrimination. This would cover 85 percent of all regulated mortgage lenders from the new requirements, which were part of the Dodd-Frank Act.
The 17 members of the Democratic caucus who support S.2155 have taken significant heat from their colleagues over this measure, which critics believe would deeply damage fair lending enforcement by making the new HMDA data incomplete and unreliable. The subprime crisis, which disproportionately fell on black and brown borrowers, proved that new data for housing discrimination was necessary, but this provision would wipe that away.