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Women Targeted for Subprime Lending

Experts agree that gender based lending discrimination is a problem that has added to the subprime crisis. Though women have higher credit scores on average than men, more women than men had subprime mortgages, according to Womens eNews. The disparity between women and men for high-rate loans is even greater for women of color. The Consumer Federation of America (seePDF) reports that African American and Latina women have the highest rates of subprime lending.

Joan Entmacher of the National Womens Law Center told Womens eNews, “People have assumed that credit discrimination against women is a thing of the past and obviously it’s not.” Women’s eNews reports that though lending practices have improved over the last four decades, people often ignore the fact that gender discrimination is still prevalent among lenders.

Ms. Magazine reports in its Winter 2008 issue that lenders actually target women and people of color through their advertising. Women are 32 percent more likely to receive subprime loans than men. Mortgage foreclosures can often be the result of inability to sustain the subprime loans, thus women, especially women of color, are disproportionately at risk of foreclosure. Congress introduced a bill that would protect homeowners during bankruptcy by giving more flexibility to home loans. However, Senate Republicans blocked the bill on Feb. 28.

Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP, told Ms. Magazine “Predatory lending is unequivocally a major civil rights issue of our time.”

Sources:

Women�s eNews 03/03/08; Ms. Magazine Winter 2008; Consumer Federation of America 12/06