Volume Buyers

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Mortgage Discrimination

Our in house finance consultant, DeAnna Trask, was passing an article around the office about mortgage denial for women on maternity leave. Click here for the article. I found the article very interesting and I didn’t think it had been an issue in the past but, this year there have been 16 incidents with at least three institutions. Some cases the lenders either denied the loan all together or stopped working on it. On October 9th, HUD settled with Wells Fargo for $5 million, which is the largest settlement of its kind.

“Wells Fargo settled with HUD to resolve allegations that it discriminated against pregnant women, women on maternity leave, or women who recently gave birth by making loans unavailable based on sex and familial status; or by forcing women applicants to sacrifice their maternity leave and return to work prior to closing on their loans; and by making discriminatory statements to and against women who were pregnant or who had recently given birth.”  Click here to read the whole article.

One of the biggest problems regarding this type of discrimination is the lack of education.    The changes to Dodd Frank, the SAFE act and other federal law changes have greatly impacted and regulated our industry.  Tyna-Minet Anderson, vice president at Mortgage Educators and Compliance, said that underwriters and mortgage insures do not take the same training which many lead to a knowledge gap and fair lending.  HUD reported 30 cases of discrimination in 2010, 40 in 2011, 50 in 2012, and 40 in 2013.

I asked DeAnna to give us some insight on what we can do as dealerships to protect our deals and customers.  Here is what she had to say:

As a dealer, if you have a customer that is pregnant, you need to be aware of how this has worked in the real world.  If you’re doing an end loan, you could run into special underwriting guidelines that only pertain to women on maternity leave.   If the woman goes out on maternity leave before the deal is closed, an underwriter could do the following:

  1. Refuse to count her income because she is on leave, effectively declining the loan.
  2. Refuse to acknowledge that being on family medical leave does not mean that you’re unemployed.
  3. Decline the loan altogether and make them resubmit when she goes back to work.
  4. Or, put the loan on hold until she is back to work and has 30 days of paystubs.

All of these actions have been standard practice in the past.  However, all of these actions violate the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

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October 16, 2014 - Posted by | Financial Information | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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