I had to laugh at myself, listening to Bernanke talk about racial discrimination in home mortgages and thinking how naÃ¯ve I had been. For some years before the subprime mortgage crisis hit, my wife had been getting phone calls from various mortgage lenders urging us to refinance. We were interested, but my wife was puzzled because they kept pushing her toward a type of mortgage refinance program that did not fit us and seemed a better fit for people with low credit scores and lower income. When the crisis hit, we both realized they had been targeting us because she is a minority, African-American. But wait! I objected. And I went through this ridiculous scenario in my head of how someone in the Wells Fargo office had noticed her come in one day and marked our file “Black” or some such.
My wife gave me that piteous look that says, “As long as you’ve been around Black folk and you can’t figure that out?” They simply look at the Ethnicity information they promise not to use for any but statistical purposes and pull the ones that say Hispanic or Black, as in No Duh. Blacks families lost 50% of their financial value in the recession while Whites lost 16%. Add to that the practice of putting Black home owners on contract instead of mortgages that persisted into the 60s so that they could not leverage money for a new business, college, a new home, or anything and you have the Great Squeeze.
So my question is: do these people do this because they make money at it or do they do it because it keeps Blacks in an economically inferior position?