The U.S. House votes to hide evidence of discrimination and risk in banking

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives voted and approved Senate Bill 2155, nicknamed the #BankLobbyistAct. S. 2155 rolls back parts of the Dodd-Frank banking rules and valuable fair lending protections enacted after the 2008 financial crisis.

Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, made the following statement.

“Congress is celebrating 10 years of recovery from the Great Recession by passing a law that shields evidence of discriminatory and risky loans. S 2155 is a huge step backward for low-income borrowers and people of color. Mark my words, members of Congress who voted for this bill will come to regret it.

“The data we currently have access to shows significant disparities in loan denials between white and non-white borrowers. Lenders say there’s data beyond what they are required to report that explains those discrepancies. The problem is, that’s the very data that this bill allows banks to conceal. If that data is so informative, why don’t lenders push to release it? Instead, they lobbied to hide it. The public is left in the dark and borrowers of color are left out of the housing market.

“This bill also weakens safeguards, including the Volcker Rule. Those safeguards were put in place after the 2008 financial collapse, and for good reason. Today, with stronger safeguards in place, banks are earning record profits. There’s no good reason to go backwards or encourage riskier behavior.

“Shame on Democrats and Republicans in Congress who voted to take us backwards and allow banks to hide information crucial to oversight of fair lending practices and overall risk in the banking system.”

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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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