News - August 9, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Debbie Sousa
Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association
The MMBA Rebuts Study on Discriminatory Lending Practices in the LGBTQ Community
Boston, Mass. – Tuesday, August 9, 2019 - We thank The Boston Globe for bringing a recent study from Iowa State University to our attention. The study, based on nationwide lending patterns from 1990 to 2015, suggests that same-sex couples are more likely to be denied mortgages and that they pay higher interest rates than other similarly qualified borrowers. The MMBA respectfully disagrees with the results of the study.
We believe the study and the data used was carefully evaluated, but the reasons behind the actual denials is not available. The authors of the report acknowledge the limitations of the available data, including the lack of verification of the nature of the relationship between the co-applicants (who may be co-signing a loan for a family member) or information on why the loans were denied or charged a higher rate. We also note that there have been no claims of discrimination made to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, The Massachusetts Mortgage Review Board or the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Likewise, Lambda Legal and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) have not received any complaints.
The MMBA would like to see better information gathering and reporting. We were hopeful that the 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), which provided for additional data disclosure, would offer insight into the reasons applicants were denied mortgages or offered higher interest rates. Unfortunately, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) decided that some data fields such as FICO scores, debt-to-income ratios and the results from automated underwriting systems would not be released to the public.
We encourage the CFPB to make this data available for public evaluation so it can be evaluated and determined where additional education and resources should be targeted to ensure that all qualified consumers can become homeowners regardless of race, color, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Our industry embraces not only the LGBTQ community but all races, ethnicities, genders and ages. Those of us who have made our careers in the mortgage industry, and who approach our role with integrity, are proud of the work we do to help people purchase their homes.
We are hopeful that this study may lead to better information gathering to ensure the protection of the LGBTQ community from discriminatory lending practices throughout the country. The mortgage industry and our members embrace the LGBTQ community and are proud of the inroads that have been made to ensure all are treated equally. We oppose any discrimination and know of no discrimination by our members.
About the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association
Founded in 1976, the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association (MMBA) is the largest mortgage association in New England and is recognized as one of the most successful in the country. The MMBA’s more than 225 corporate members include lending institutions (banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers) and ancillary companies that facilitate mortgage transactions throughout the state. The MMBA serves as a trusted commentator and advocate on public policy and provides educational training and networking opportunities for its members. For more information, visit www.massmba.com.