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Investigation: Institutional Discrimination Leads Many People Of Color To Avoid Seeking Credit

After decades of discrimination on the part of the federal government and financial institutions, minorities in the US are less likely to seek credit.

An investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance found that 60% of the time when credit applicants are people of color, loans cost more even when they are more financially qualified.

Credit is a critical factor of financial success. The rates you get on loans affect everything important in your financial life, from getting a car to buying your first home. The issue of interest rates on loans has been a hot political issue in recent years as well, and recent research has revealed even more about how people of color are being affected by discrimination in lending. According to the NFHA investigation, equally or more financially qualified people of color are offered higher-priced car loans, costing an average of $2,662 more over the course of the auto loan. According to the same research, the decades of financial discrimination by the federal government and financial institutions has induced a trauma-like response when it comes to the credit-granting institutions that are needed to thrive.

The ramifications of this problem can be devastating, as credit influences your ability to afford a mortgage and even hiring decisions by employers. The reasons for the continued unfair lending practices in the US are still not fully understood, and there’s been a longstanding debate as to whether the algorithms that control the credit system was racially biased. According to Joanne Gaskin, vice president of scores and analytics at credit-scoring company FICO, credit scores don’t take age, address, employment, income, gender or race into account in generating their scores. Going forward, there is good news in the fact that the playing field is being leveled out, but there is still a long way to go.

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