|The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) was passed by Congress in 1975
because of pressure from community groups, who were angry about the way their communities
were being redlined. As data about home mortgages began being collected the extent of
redlining became obvious, and Congress next passed the Community Reinvestment Act in order
to give communities a tool to fight the disinvestment in their communities.
In 2005, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch has issued a number of studies of the 2004 data, which for the first time includes information on interest rates for loans over the "rate spread" threshold (3% over comparable Treasury securities on first lien loans, 5% on subordinate liens). ICP's studies of the 2004 HMDA data: first second third fourth fifth
With improvements in the law it is now possible to get detailed information about the race, gender and income level of home mortgage applicants, whether successful or unsuccessful. This information is also gathered by census tract so a rather detailed picture of the geography and borrower characteristics of mortgage loans and denials can be constructed.
If you want to look at the HMDA data for your location, or for a particular institution, there are several ways to access the data. The FFIEC is the bank regulator's interagency group that collects this information annually from the institutions that are required to report it. The public can purchase CD-ROMs containing the data from the FFIEC using their order form, or you can access the data directly from their web page.
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition will provide assistance in analyzing and understanding HMDA data for its member groups. NCRC will also be able to get you in touch with other groups concerned about a particular bank or working in a particular area.
There are still problems with HMDA data. However, groups can use the data to identify disparities in the rate loans are denied to different ethnic groups. One can illustrate trends in lending in low and moderate income areas. For instance, subprime (high interest rate) lenders have been getting much more of the low income market in the last few years. In December 2000, the Federal Reserve Board issues for comment a proposed revision to HMDA, which would include a column for interest rate, and whether a particular application was for a "high cost loan" as defined in the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994. This amendment to the HMDA regulation, if finalized, will allow more detailed analysis of subprime, and in come instances, predatory, lending.
A history of how the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act has gradually been modified and improved, from a regulator's perspective, is available on the FFIEC's HMDA web page.
Copyright 1999 - 2003 Inner City Press/Community on the Move, Inc.. All rights reserved. For further information, or to request reprint or other permission, contact: Permissions Coordinator, Legal Administration, Inner City Press, P.O. Box 580188, Mount Carmel Station, Bronx, NY 10458. Phone: (718) 716-3540. Fax: (718) 716-3161. E-mail: HMDA [at] innercitypress.org