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A coalition of community groups is presenting the findings Thursday at a noon news conference on the steps of Minneapolis City Hall.
“We expect the city of Minneapolis to take decisive steps to hold these financial institutions accountable, to ensure that our community is not a playground for corporate greed,” said Anthony Newby, an activist with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change.
North Minneapolis homeowner Ruby Brown is among those seeking change. Brown, longtime owner of Remedy Hair Design, got caught in a toxic adjustable-rate home loan through someone at her church. She narrowly escaped losing her weathered brick-and-stucco duplex in Willard-Hay, while she struggled to refinance the loan with Bank of America.
“I never actually got a letter saying that I was rejected. What I kept getting was the rejection of runarounds,” Brown said. “This went on forever.”
She finally got the refinance, but it took a national campaign by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and Occupy Homes Minnesota. “Why are people having to go through this?” asked Brown.
Julie Gugin, head of the Minnesota Homeownership Center in St. Paul, said the center has studied the reasons for the racial gaps in homeownership in Minnesota. A variety of factors contribute to it, she said, but the center did not look at lending patterns, she said.
David McGee, executive director of Build Wealth, MN Inc., a Northside nonprofit that counsels families on homeownership, said discrimination is tough to prove. He has been involved with loans that took much longer to process and close than they should.
Overt discrimination isn’t really necessary, given some of the stiff credit restraints put in place since the crash, McGee said. The general increase in the credit scores required can create enough of a barrier for communities of color on its own, he said.
McGee said his group supports a bill in the Legislature that would help create a loan pool to encourage minorities to apply for a mortgage. “How about we find an antidote?” McGee said.
The study is at www.law.umn.edu/metro/index.html.
Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683