The Structural Biases Behind Financial Lending Won’t Stop Until We Start Speaking Out

A brief foray into the world of financial lending shows that the structural biases of the past are still plaguing our world today, and that they’re not going away until the public demands action.

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| July 23 2018,

11:15 pm

People of color have long been familiar with the humiliation that comes with being denied an opportunity to secure a loan solely because of their skin color, but many people have come to expect more in the 21st century. Despite heightened expectations, certain lenders still aren’t truly serving people of color, and discrimination is still very much a reality for countless citizens.

Why aren’t these lenders serving people of color? A brief foray into the world of financial lending shows that the structural biases of the past are still plaguing our world today, and they’re not going away until the public demands action.

Discrimination isn’t a thing of the past

When many people think of discrimination when attempting to securing a loan, they falsely assume that the days of biased bankers and lenders who refuse to serve people of color are long gone. However, discrimination isn’t so much a thing of the past as it is a defining facet of the contemporary financial world. Take the fact that black Americans are still routinely denied certain financial services that are routinely made widely available to their white counterparts.

If people of color can’t access loans at the same rate of white families, how can they ever be expected to be able to take care of themselves in a society that stubbornly refuses to pay them even the smallest amount of attention? Black Americans have routinely had the door to homeownership shut in their faces throughout this nation’s history, and can never attain meaningful financial independence if they can’t secure loans at a fair and equal rate.

It goes without saying that one of the reasons people of color are still suffering from these injustices today is because of the history of structural hurdles they’ve had to deal with when it comes to accumulating property. Guaranteeing that only certain classes of people are allowed to accumulate wealth with the help of a Nevada payday loan, is one of the oldest tools of oppression in the book. If lenders aren’t serving people of color equally, they’re essentially making no historical progress from their present poverty.

Lenders need to be called out

If meaningful change is ever to be achieved, then the lenders who are leading this biased charge against people of color in the financial world need to be called out with gusto. Many mortgage lenders have a record of turning down black and Latino applicants at rates two or even three times the industry standard. If such bigotry is permitted to occur in broad daylight, financial inequality will never truly be extinguished.

Take a look at this list of eight lenders who have grown infamous for their refusal to serve people of color, and you’ll see how rife the problem is. Structural racism and a personal unwillingness to give people of color a loan or financial guarantee isn’t unique to any one place in the country, but is rather a constant from sea to shining sea. Any solution to this problem needs to begin with us addressing the fact that this kind of bias is at the very foundation of our country’s financial system. A refusal to acknowledge things as they are will only enable the current system of injustice to continue.

If consumers aren’t willing to boycott lenders who have been found to systematically deny people of color opportunities to advance themselves, then these companies will continue to flourish. Regulators certainly won’t help; if government officials cared about stomping out this kind of activity, they would have acted hundreds of years ago when it began. Americans of all stripes need to realize that this kind of discriminatory behavior on the part of lenders can only be halted by average folk taking action.

The fact that discrimination and racial bias against people of color in the home mortgage market is so rife is disheartening, but people of color and their white allies shouldn’t allow themselves to be so demoralized as to give up the fight. Racist lenders can be named and shamed, and discriminatory housing and financial practices can be brought to an end. With enough concerted action on a nation-wide scale, discriminatory lending practices against people of color can finally be overcome.