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Advocacy Group Says Racial Disparities In Local Mortgage Lending Persist


A new report out by the Empire Justice Center in Rochester says that there are continued disparities in the way home mortgages are granted in parts of the Rochester area.

The non-profit legal advocacy organization says that home mortgage lending  recovered in 2013 from a low point in 2011.  But the report also shows that African American middle and upper income borrowers were denied loans at least twice as often as white people in the same brackets.

The study also shows that mortgage denial rates for neighborhoods where there were more people of color grew, while at the same time overall lending was going up.

Researcher Barbara van Kerhkhove is hoping this study becomes part of a broader look at race and poverty in the Rochester area.

"I would love for this report to be used to continue a discussion that I think is already happening in this community around race and also people in poverty."

She also wants to make sure housing regulations are being followed.

"I also want the regulators to come in and make sure that people aren't being denied loans unfairly, and if they are being denied loans, what can we do as a community to get low and moderate income people prepared to become homeowners? What can we do that's different?"

The Empire Justice Center  is also wants to see officials require that mortgage loan providers and realtors participate in anti-racism and cultural competency training to improve racial justice.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.
Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.