A reader writes, in response to my column a few weeks ago on subprime mortgages (which discussed how subprime lending had helped dramatically reduce mortgage denial rates for African Americans):
I don’t think that any fair minded person would say because historically blacks and minorites have been kept out of the housing market artificially and unfairly that even the subprime market should give a mortgage to a person that isn’t going to be able to afford it when the interests rates go up. I’m black and I’m one of the fortunate blacks that comes from historically educated family that has never had (really) to deal with the harsh realities of WHITE AMERICA and all its racism in order to receive fair treatment. With that being said, I don’t want to be given a predatory loan package (buyer beware) with hidden dangerous pitfalls. I want to be given a loan that is based on my credit and my ability to pay off that loan. If I can’t do that then I should wait until I can.
I was a real estate agent in Manhattan for 5 years and I know the predatory practices that real estate agents, mortage people etc. use. It’s pervasive and it will never go away. But the subprime market took it to a new level. It sounds like the mortgage people did not take their fiduciary commitment seriously. I don’t understand how whether a person is of a lower (black) income bracket why they shouldn’t be told the truth about what could happen if their interest rates jump 4% in 2 years.
Blacks want to be given a fair shot if they are poor or rich. Let the numbers fall where they will. If it doesn’t add up it should be color blind. I shouldn’t get a loan because America is apologizing. But, America has added insult to injury by now giving minorities a chance at a home while at the same time not really informing them of the real dangers of the types of loans that most blacks probably got.