Midwest BankCentre, a $720 million community bank with nine offices, was named "Outstanding Small Lender" by the Small Business Administration in 2000. The bank originated 569 mortgage loans in 2000
and had a higher percentage of mortgage home improvement loans in compliance-sensitive segments than did its community peer banks. Midwest BankCentre was instrumental in helping to establish the Lemay Housing Partnership.
Josh Silver has been the vice president of research and policy at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) since 1995. He has a major role in developing NCRC's policy positions on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and other fair-lending laws and regulations. He has also written congressional testimony and conducted numerous research studies on lending trends to minority and working-class communities. These studies include NCRC's Best and Worst Lenders, a comprehensive analysis of home lending in 20 metropolitan areas, and a report sponsored by HUD on the performance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in financing home loans for minority and low- and moderate-income borrowers. Prior to joining NCRC, Mr. Silver was a research analyst with the Urban Institute. Mr. Silver holds a master's degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin and a bachelor's degree in economics from Columbia University. NCRC is the nation's CRA trade association of more than 800 community groups and local public agency member organizations. For more information about NCRC, call (202) 628-8866 or visit the coalition's web page at http://www.ncrc.org.
The contributors to this article were asked to respond to the following statement:
In the past, the terms "thick file syndrome" and "thin file syndrome" were used to describe the allegation that white and minority mortgage applicants received differing levels or quality of assistance in preparing mortgage applications. These terms were used primarily before the advent of credit scoring in mortgage lending. In the current mortgage market environment, credit and mortgage scoring have taken a front seat to judgmental systems. With greater reliance on these automated systems and less human judgment in the decision process, the quality of assistance provided applicants is even more important.
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