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MORTGAGE LENDING DISCRIMINATION FIELD HEARING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION OCTOBER 15, 2007 Printed for the use of the Committee on Financial Services Serial No. 110–69 ( U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON 39–907 PDF : 2008 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512–1800; DC area (202) 512–1800 Fax: (202) 512–2104 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402–0001 VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 5011 Sfmt 5011 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts, Chairman PAUL E. KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania MAXINE WATERS, California CAROLYN B. MALONEY, New York LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois ´ NYDIA M. VELAZQUEZ, New York MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York JULIA CARSON, Indiana BRAD SHERMAN, California GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York DENNIS MOORE, Kansas MICHAEL E. CAPUANO, Massachusetts ´ RUBEN HINOJOSA, Texas WM. LACY CLAY, Missouri CAROLYN MCCARTHY, New York JOE BACA, California STEPHEN F. LYNCH, Massachusetts BRAD MILLER, North Carolina DAVID SCOTT, Georgia AL GREEN, Texas EMANUEL CLEAVER, Missouri MELISSA L. BEAN, Illinois GWEN MOORE, Wisconsin, LINCOLN DAVIS, Tennessee ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey PAUL W. HODES, New Hampshire KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota RON KLEIN, Florida TIM MAHONEY, Florida CHARLES WILSON, Ohio ED PERLMUTTER, Colorado CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut JOE DONNELLY, Indiana ROBERT WEXLER, Florida JIM MARSHALL, Georgia DAN BOREN, Oklahoma SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana DEBORAH PRYCE, Ohio MICHAEL N. CASTLE, Delaware PETER T. KING, New York EDWARD R. ROYCE, California FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma RON PAUL, Texas STEVEN C. LATOURETTE, Ohio DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois WALTER B. JONES, JR., North Carolina JUDY BIGGERT, Illinois CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut GARY G. MILLER, California SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia TOM FEENEY, Florida JEB HENSARLING, Texas SCOTT GARRETT, New Jersey GINNY BROWN-WAITE, Florida J. GRESHAM BARRETT, South Carolina JIM GERLACH, Pennsylvania STEVAN PEARCE, New Mexico RANDY NEUGEBAUER, Texas TOM PRICE, Georgia GEOFF DAVIS, Kentucky PATRICK T. MCHENRY, North Carolina JOHN CAMPBELL, California ADAM PUTNAM, Florida MICHELE BACHMANN, Minnesota PETER J. ROSKAM, Illinois KENNY MARCHANT, Texas THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan KEVIN McCARTHY, California JEANNE M. ROSLANOWICK, Staff Director and Chief Counsel (II) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE CONTENTS Page Hearing held on: October 15, 2007 ............................................................................................... Appendix: October 15, 2007 ............................................................................................... 1 41 WITNESSES MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2007 Adams-Heath, Acia, President, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance .... Alkins, Leonard, President Emeritus, NAACP Boston Branch ........................... Browne, Lynn E., Executive Vice President and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ....................................................................................... Campen, Jim, Executive Director, Americans for Fairness in Lending .............. Coakley, Hon. Martha, Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts ... Hamilton, Ginny, Executive Director, Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston . Kennedy, Thomas B., Senior Vice President, Sovereign Bank New England .... Menino, Hon. Thomas M., Mayor, City of Boston ................................................. Patrick, Hon. Deval L., Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts ................. Taylor, Chuck, City Councilor, City of Boston ...................................................... Yoon, Sam, At-Large Boston City Councilor ......................................................... 28 31 33 23 12 26 32 9 7 18 20 APPENDIX Prepared statements: Adams-Heath, Acia ........................................................................................... Alkins, Leonard ................................................................................................ Browne, Lynn E. ............................................................................................... Campen, Jim ..................................................................................................... Coakley, Hon. Martha ...................................................................................... Hamilton, Ginny ............................................................................................... Kennedy, Thomas B. ........................................................................................ Menino, Hon. Thomas M. ................................................................................. Patrick, Hon. Deval L. ..................................................................................... Yoon, Sam ......................................................................................................... ADDITIONAL MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE 42 46 48 55 84 92 105 112 119 116 RECORD Frank, Hon. Barney: Letter from Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. ..................... Article from the Boston Globe, ‘‘As foreclosures widen, a neighborhood erodes’’ ............................................................................................................ Alkins, Leonard: Information on NAACP lawsuit ...................................................................... Adams-Heath, Acia: ‘‘Expanding Homeownership Opportunity II, The SoftSecond Loan Program, 1991–2006’’ ......................................................................................... 130 132 136 137 (III) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE MORTGAGE LENDING DISCRIMINATION Monday, October 15, 2007 U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES, Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11 a.m., in Roxbury Community College, Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, 2nd floor, 1350 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts, Hon. Barney Frank [chairman of the committee] presiding. Members present: Representatives Frank, Capuano, and Lynch. The CHAIRMAN. This hearing of the Financial Services Committee will come to order. This is an official hearing of the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. I would note, as chairman of the committee, that there are three members present—myself, and my colleagues, Mr. Capuano and Mr. Lynch—which is a quorum for an official committee hearing, so this is an official hearing. We have limited time. We go into session later today, and my two colleagues and I have to go to Washington to cast a vote. We have a panel of officials. We have a panel of citizens. I have already received a statement from Deborah Rhoderick on behalf of Mass Acorn, and if there are any other statements, this will be made part of the official record. If there are any other statements that others would like to have entered into the record, let’s have a staff member— Ms. Rightguard here will accept them. We will make note publicly of their having been submitted, and they will all be part of the official record, which will read better than it sounds, apparently. To begin, I want to acknowledge the gracious hospitality of this very important institution. We are enjoying the hospitality of Roxbury Community College, a very important institution educationally, economically, and culturally in the City, and, indeed in the greater Boston area, and I want to now introduce President Gomes, who is going to welcome us and express our appreciation on behalf of the Congress and the citizens for hosting this event. Mr. President. Mr. GOMES. Good morning, and thank you, Chairman Frank. On behalf of the trustees, the faculty, staff, and students of Roxbury Community College, I want to welcome you, Chairman Frank, and also the distinguished members of the House Committee on Financial Services. As a college, we pride ourselves on being of service to the members of this community, and we certainly appreciate your bringing this important matter, having this hearing here at the college (1) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 2 today. Mayor Menino and Attorney General Coakley, thank you for coming as well, and I want to extend a thank you to those who will be giving testimony this morning. I know Governor Patrick is showing up shortly as well. I just want you to know, this is in keeping with our spirit and effort to serve the members of this community, and again, we thank you for being here and want you to know, Chairman Frank, that you are welcome here at this point in time. Thank you. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. President. We will now have opening statements. Let me begin with mine. This hearing really has a dual focus. We are, in part, talking about the sad record of discrimination in the granting of mortgages. We have a piece of legislation known as the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. That is a statistics-gathering device. It was amended about 15 years ago, under the leadership of my former colleague, Mr. Capuano’s predecessor, Joe Kennedy, who was a devoted fighter for fairness and against discrimination. And, with Joe Kennedy in the lead, the Congress explicitly mandated the collection under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of statistics involving the racial and ethnic identity of people who receive mortgages. Not surprisingly, but unfortunately, the data shows that racial and ethnic discrimination persists, and no matter what other economic figures you throw in, it still turns out that if you are African American or Hispanic in this country, and, unfortunately, particularly so if you are in Boston, you are less likely to get a mortgage, and more likely, if you do get a mortgage, to have to pay more for it than you should. Part of what we want to address here is the persistent pattern of discrimination, and we need to acknowledge that years of racism in this country, hundreds of years, have obviously not disappeared. We have made great progress in fighting racism but these statistics are a sad confirmation of the fact that it still exists. Secondly, this merges into the problem of subprime mortgages and the foreclosures that come, and part of the connection is that people who are put into subprime mortgages who should not have had to be there, because those mortgages are more expensive are more likely to find themselves in trouble if an economic downturn hits them. The fact that subprime mortgages are disproportionately given to people who are African American or Hispanic merges into, as we say, the problem of the foreclosure rate. Now let me address one question right away. I don’t know why I say, ‘‘let me,’’ because no one would stop me. I don’t know why we say those things, but I do want to address one question, which is, well, some people say, you know, they made their own mistake, the people who took out those mortgages, so why are you intervening? Well, for two reasons. First of all, if you read today’s New York Times, and yesterday’s, you will see that the urging of the Secretary of the Treasury, and I believe also the president of the New York Federal Reserve, the three largest banks in this country have come together to form a consortium to help bail each other out. That is, the notion that there needs to be some government inter- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 3 vention to help out is not restricted to people who took subprime mortgages. Secondly, as we just said, the subprime mortgages were not randomly given. There are people who because of their race or ethnicity got subprime mortgages when they would have qualified by any reasonable standard for a regular mortgage. Third, there was, to some extent, some deception. Now, most of the people who grant mortgages are honest. Part of our problem has been that because of a lack of regulation in one sector of our economy, there were mortgages granted by the unscrupulous minority of people who originated mortgages with no regulation to protect people. So, people, in fact, were put upon, they were misled, they were deceived. Finally, and this goes back again to the discriminatory aspect in part, subprime mortgages, and the foreclosures that result therefrom were not, and are not, randomly distributed. What that means is that the foreclosures hit particular neighborhoods harder than other neighborhoods. I represent a variety of communities, as do my two colleagues. Subprime foreclosures are not a serious problem in Wellesley, but they are a serious problem elsewhere, but here’s the problem. If you are a hard-working woman, making $40,000 a year in this economy, and doing everything you can as scrupulously and as carefully as you can to pay your mortgage, but the house across the street goes into foreclosure, and the house four doors down goes into foreclosure, pretty soon you have a problem. And, I would salute the Boston Globe, there was a very good article on the front page of the Globe, I think, a week ago Sunday about what is happening in Lawrence, and it is, unfortunately, not the only city in which this happens, where foreclosures have negatively affected not just those whose houses were foreclosed upon but others as well. So, we are dealing here with the dual problems of discrimination and of foreclosures. I would just make one announcement before I turn to my colleagues. We will be meeting—and I have been working with Mayor Menino on this, and with Governor Patrick; I know the Governor has made some announcements about some efforts to try to help out with the foreclosures—a week from Friday, and we’ll have more details on that, at the Federal Reserve Bank, and we have arranged this with Jim Siegel, my special counsel, who will be working on this. We are going to ask, not too politely, all of the lenders, all of the servicers, all of the people who hold the mortgages, to come to meet with various neighborhood advocate groups. We will have the FHA there. We will have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac there. We will have officials from the city and the State there, and from the Attorney General’s office, who has been taking a very active role here, and we hope that out of that meeting a week from Friday will come some concrete agreements and some concrete steps people will know they can take to alleviate this kind of problem, because the foreclosure issue is one that threatens, as I said, not just those upon whom the foreclosures will hit, and they deserve some help, many of them, but others as well. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 4 I did save one last point. A year ago, there was a lot of talk in the country about the need to deregulate. We were told that if we didn’t cut back on regulation every corporation in America would go to England, where they would be more nicely treated. By the way, in England they just raised the taxes on private equity, so maybe they are not going there so much. But, we have had mortgages originated by two groups in this country. Mortgages have been originated traditionally by regulated entities, banks and credit unions, and if only banks and credit unions regulated by the FDIC and the State Bank Commission, or the National Credit Union Administration, etc., etc., if they were the only originators of mortgages we would not have a crisis, because the rules under which they operated prevented many of these abuses. We have a wholly unregulated sector—the mortgage brokers. Now, most mortgage brokers are perfectly honest and decent people. It’s not that they have more people who want to cut corners, it is that for the minority who might want to cut corners, they were subject to no checks and balances, and so what we had were mortgages originated by an unregulated sector, and then in turn sold in an unregulated way into a secondary market, so that the concerns people had with the payments not being made got dissolved. And, one of the things we will be doing on this committee, my colleagues and I have been working on this, going forward we plan to adopt a law, a Federal law, that will cover all mortgage originators with the same set of rules that have applied to those regulated entities, and we will also be putting some rules on those who syndicate these into the secondary market. Essentially we are saying that there are mortgage loans that shouldn’t be made, a very exotic concept—don’t lend people money if they can’t possibly pay it back. Apparently, that’s surprising to some people, but that’s going to be a rule. And then to the servicers, don’t sell into the secondary market mortgages that never should have been made in the first place. Those are the rules we are going to enact. So, with that, let me welcome our officials, and let me turn to my colleague, in whose district we now sit, the gentleman from Massachusetts, the former Mayor of Somerville, who is very well aware of these problems. He has been a leading advocate in fighting for the housing needs of the Commonwealth, Mike Capuano. Mr. CAPUANO. Thanks, Barney. First of all, I want to thank you all for being here today. This is an important step in the process. In Congress, we don’t do anything until we have a sufficient number of hearings, and we get enough people convinced to actually take action. I’m not going to reiterate what Barney said about the substance of the issue, and I also know that there are many people in this room who actually know the details of the issue more than I do, but I do want to say one thing very, very clearly. In the last 9 months, a lot of my friends in this district have said to me, well, what’s the difference, Congress hasn’t changed, Washington hasn’t changed, we voted for Democrats and what happened. Well, here’s what happened. We are here today making another step in the right direction on an important issue that affects people VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 5 at the bottom end of the socio-economic scale. I guarantee you, on my father’s soul and on my childrens’ souls, this hearing, this issue, would not be on the table, would not be making progress, if there wasn’t change in Washington last November that you helped to bring. And, I understand that some people want more change, as I do, as I will speak for my colleagues, as all three of us here do, but we do what we can, and we cannot do anything unless the voters of America stand up and say they want a government that is activist, they want a government that watches out for the interests of regular people. Now, we take it for granted here in Massachusetts, particularly in the greater Boston area, we take it for granted that all of our public officials care about that. Well, I will tell you, I’m sure you have been watching Washington over the last dozen years, and that has not usually been the case. There are those of us in the minority who voice it strongly that we want these things to happen. We did not talk about subprime loans on the Financial Services Committee in any serious way last year, when Republicans were running the Congress. This year, with Barney Frank as the chairman, not only are we talking about it, but we are taking action and we are going to make a difference this year. That is a major, major change in Washington, because you and the rest of the American people stood up and said, ‘‘Enough is enough.’’ So, for me, we are here today to learn a few more details, but I’m here today, really, to say thank you and to remind you all of the actions that you took to make this change possible, to make this progress possible, and, please, in any way, it will probably never be enough, but in any way, if you don’t recognize the dramatic change that has happened in Washington in the last year, and, hopefully, will continue to happen over the foreseeable years, is major and will make our lives better. Thank you for being here. The CHAIRMAN. Next, another very strong advocate for the housing needs of the citizens of both his district and the whole Commonwealth and, indeed, the country, Representative Steve Lynch. Mr. LYNCH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I want to thank Barney for holding this hearing on mortgage lending discrimination in the City of Boston. The pattern of discrimination revealed by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data requires our utmost attention. Just so you know, the 2005 HMDA data, like the 2004 data, did reveal that Blacks and Hispanic borrowers in the City of Boston are more likely to obtain loans with prices above the pricing thresholds than are non-Hispanic Whites. And sadly, in greater Boston and throughout Massachusetts we have discrimination numbers that are much higher than the national average. I was disturbed to learn from Mr. Campen’s testimony at a previous hearing, and his written testimony today, that from 2003 to 2005, 77 percent of the loans provided to Blacks in greater Boston were concentrated in a small number of communities, not only in the City, but also in three other districts—three other towns in my district, Milton, Randolph, and Stilton. At the same time, we have seen a dramatic decrease in CRA loans, Community Reinvestment VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 6 Act loans, that require a diversity of outreach by the lenders and actually scores the lenders on their ability and their willingness to spread to non-traditional employees the benefits of fair mortgage lending. I am particularly pleased to have a constituent of mine here to testify on the second panel, Ginny Hamilton. She is the executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Boston, a group that does great work in fighting illegal housing discrimination in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, and Suffolk Counties in Massachusetts. As part of their mission, the Fair Housing Center researches the documents and nature and extent of housing discrimination, as well as fair housing impacts on public policies. Ms. Hamilton will testify today—she has a report that is available, ‘‘The Gap Persists: A Report on Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the Greater Boston Home Mortgage Lending Market.’’ And I think it is very telling, her report; it indicates that there were differences in the treatment of disadvantaged minority home buyers in 9 out of 20 matched pair sets, so what the Fair Housing Office does is sends out people with, basically, the same criteria, going in to lenders to see if they are being treated differently because of the color of their skin. And, what’s going on, and what this report has shown, is that when Latino and Black applicants walk in, 9 out of 20 cases, it is showing a positive correlation to their race, in terms of getting a mortgage at fair terms. So, that’s an alarming statistic, and I think it serves as a basis for the work that we are doing—45 percent of the time we are seeing a discriminatory impact based on race in the availability of mortgages in the City of Boston. Lastly, I would say, as Chairman Frank has already indicated, we have a couple of things that we are trying to do here today. Number one is to make sure that we can provide some relief for people who have found themselves in this position, who are at risk of foreclosure, and who have no place to turn. I compliment the Governor on his work with the Mass Fair Housing Agency to help address part of that problem. The other problem is a moral hazard that we have, and the chairman has talked about this before. We want to provide relief for the families who have been victims here. We do not wish to provide relief for mortgage companies that came in and tried to take advantage of these families. So, we have to make sure that the tools that we provide to correct this imbalance, that the relief goes to the families who have been most affected. And, with that, I’ll yield back the balance of my time. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Lynch. Mr. Lynch makes one point that I want to just announce. One of the things that we have seen happen over these 20 years or so is that the Community Reinvestment Act has been diminished, not by anybody’s deliberate action. When the Community Reinvestment Act was first passed, most of the lending was done by banks. In the years since then, a number of other financial institutions have stepped in, and one of the things this committee will be doing next year is to begin some hearings, and I hope write some legislation, that will extend the reach of the Community Reinvestment Act so VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 7 that we will get back to the percentage of economic activity that it was originally supposed to cover. With that, I’m going to begin with our panel of witnesses. I am very grateful to these three very busy and important officials for taking the time to come and join us today. All three have been leaders, not just here, but nationally, in addressing these various problems, and we will begin with the Governor of Massachusetts, Governor Patrick. STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DEVAL L. PATRICK, GOVERNOR, COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS Governor PATRICK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Is that all right? Can everybody hear me who needs to? The CHAIRMAN. Well, I can, but I’m 10 feet in front of you. I don’t know about the people 200 feet back here. Governor PATRICK. How’s that, is that better? Okay. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much, to you, and Congressman Lynch, and Congressman Capuano, and the members of your committee who are not here, for caring about this issue, and for convening here in Boston so that we can talk about the challenges and what we are trying to do to help meet them. First of all, if you will permit me, I’ll just submit my written testimony for the record. The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, all of the written statements submitted by any of the witnesses, as well as members of the audience, will be made part of this official record. Governor PATRICK. Great. And, I’ll just try to focus on some of the things that we are trying to do at the State level here in Massachusetts to address the issue. You know what the issue is, foreclosure rates are up 76 percent in just the last 12 months here in Massachusetts, 25,000 foreclosures have been initiated in the last 12 months here in Massachusetts. It’s a serious challenge, and it’s a primary concern of our administration. Although the complex issues surrounding foreclosure and abuses within the mortgage lending industry are national in scope, as you and your colleagues have laid out, there are important steps that can be taken at the State level to protect consumers, while maintaining a viable, competitive mortgage lending industry in Massachusetts. I want to thank you for allowing me to share with you some initiatives we are undertaking to provide comprehensive short-term solutions to assist homeowners, and to develop long-term strategies to prevent foreclosure crises and address potential disparities in loan access and pricing. First of all, in April of this year, I directed our Division of Banks to seek, on a case-by-case basis, brief stays for consumers who were facing imminent foreclosures. The goal was to provide some time, allowing the division to refer homeowners to reputable homeownership counseling firms, and encourage mortgage lenders and services to use this time to work with homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments. To date, through a hotline we established to help homeowners gain access to our services, the Division has fielded over 1,000 Mas- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 8 sachusetts residents’ calls, who are either in the foreclosure process or having difficulty maintaining their mortgage obligations, and we’ve secured voluntary stays in half of those cases so far. Mass Housing, in collaboration with Fannie Mae, and I appreciate your calling attention to this, Congressman Lynch, has designed and implemented one of the most aggressive foreclosure prevention programs in the country. The program includes $250 million, a commitment that includes $190 million in funds from Fannie Mae, and $60 million in a contribution from Mass Housing through the sale of bonds. In other words, no taxpayer money is used for this program. Through the program, borrowers may be up to 60 days delinquent with credit scores as low as 560 and still be able to refinance their existing mortgage loans under manageable terms. That’s 1,000 homes—1,000 homes—and we ought to be doing more of this. Through our Division of Banks, Massachusetts will be one of the first States in the country to implement a nationwide database of mortgage professionals. Nearly 4 years in the making, the system goes live on January 1st of next year, to provide a uniform application process for mortgage lenders and brokers operating across State lines, and will be a central repository of information about licensing and enforcement actions. The database will substantially improve the existing regulatory framework and reduce fraud on a nationwide basis. We have also filed legislation in June of this year to criminalize mortgage fraud, prohibit abuse of foreclosure rescue schemes, and update various provisions of the laws that currently govern the foreclosure process here in the State. The bill also establishes a central repository of foreclosure information at the Division of Banks to allow us to track foreclosures by product, geographic region, originator, broker, and lender, so that we can watch for patterns and anticipate where trouble may come. Furthermore, the legislation prohibits a lender from making an adjustable rate subprime loan unless a consumer affirmatively opts out of a fixed-rate product, and completes a home buyer counseling program, and we look forward to working with the legislature to enact this legislation. It was submitted and heard in a public hearing just last month. In addition, we continue to support legislative initiatives to license mortgage loan originators and extend provisions of the Massachusetts Community Reinvestment Act to certain licensed mortgage lenders. The establishment of a CAR-like requirement for non-bank mortgage lenders will result in public evaluations and ratings summarizing non-bank lenders’ performance in meeting housing credit needs in compliance with State and Federal fair lending laws. I believe this increased level of scrutiny will significantly decrease the impact of the disparities in mortgage pricing. Finally, my staff and I have held ongoing meetings with lenders, industry trade groups, community and housing advocates, and others, to discuss possibilities to assist home buyers, and homeowners, and housing counselors. It’s clear that a comprehensive response to the complexity of these problems of foreclosure and mortgage lenders lending abuses will require the ongoing participation of mort- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 9 gage lending industry members and other non-governmental entities, as well as our State government. We continue to work with all participants in the mortgage lending process to discuss and determine what further steps can be taken at the State level. In an effort to expand on some of these initiatives, we will later this week announce six municipalities who will take part in a pilot program designed to cover a range of possible needs for homeowners, especially vulnerable homeowners. We’ve developed a fivepoint plan to bring together government, lenders, homeowners, and nonprofits to develop and raise awareness about alternatives to foreclosure, to create support systems for transition assistance where necessary, and keep neighborhood homes occupied. The plan is based basically on outreach, best practices, rescue products, neighborhood stabilization—a very key point that you raised in your opening remarks, Mr. Chairman—and transition assistance. The six cities and towns will be selected based on number and concentration of foreclosures to date, as well as the overall fiscal needs of the region. Through that program, we’ll be able to implement and refine strategies to help homeowners stay in their homes and keep communities stable, sound, and safe. I want to thank Secretary Dan O’Connell, our Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, and Undersecretary for Housing, Community, and Community Development, Tina Brooks, for their leadership within our government. I also want to acknowledge and thank the cooperation and partnership we have had with the Mayor and with the Attorney General, who have been just wonderful on these subjects. We have been fortunate to work in collaboration with various concerned members of the Massachusetts legislature as well, and we are making a coordinated effort in Massachusetts and look forward to working with Federal authorities in any way that we can to keep people in their homes, and to keep families and communities as stable as possible. Thank you very much for having us participate today. [The prepared statement of Governor Patrick can be found on page 119 of the appendix.] The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Governor. I just want to echo your last point, it is important that all levels of government—Federal, State, and local—work together. That is why I am particularly glad that we have this panel, and I am very pleased to welcome the Mayor here, both as a sign that we all work together, and also for those people who frequently confuse me and the Mayor, I want to dissuade them. We are two separate people, but we are both working on the same project. Your Honor. STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE THOMAS MENINO, MAYOR, CITY OF BOSTON Mr. MENINO. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. You and I think alike on issues, that’s one thing, and I thank Congressman Lynch and Congressman Capuano for being here. This is a very important meeting this morning. I appreciate your VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 10 leadership on these lending issues, especially when those lending issues affect the consumer. Before I begin, Congressman Frank, let me congratulate you for your tremendous success in passing the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund in the House. It’s a tremendous opportunity for us. I hope you get your Senate colleagues to move this bill in just half the time that it took to get it through the House. I know with your determination and drive you will show the Senate how to do this, and it’s very important that we do this on a national level. We are here today to discuss discrimination in mortgage lending. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is, after all these years, and after so much work on the part of government, consumer organizations, and corporate America that we even have to have a hearing like this. So, here we are, truly part of a marathon, not a sprint, to bring equality to all Americans. I want to acknowledge the important work of the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council, the academic community, and people like Joe Cappan and Bill Abgar. Their years of research have quantified for us disparities in lending, so let’s listen to some of their findings. In Boston, in greater Boston, throughout the Commonwealth, high-priced loans account for over half of the home mortgage loans of both Blacks and Latinos, and Congressman Lynch also took note of that. In Boston, the four neighborhoods with the highest percentage of minorities—Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester—received more high-cost loans than the other neighbors in our City. Borrowers are grouped by race and income level, and the proportionate share of high-cost mortgage loans is constantly higher for Blacks and Latinos than for Whites at the same income level. One last piece of information from the Mass Community and Banking Council, here are the lenders who are among the highest providers of high-cost loans to the neighborhoods of Boston: Ameriquest; Fremont Investment and Loan; Countrywide; New Century; and Option 1. I really get angry when I look at these data, not just because families who are affected are paying more than they should, but also because I see the impact these high-cost loans have on our residents and our neighborhoods. When foreclosures increase, properties are often left vacant, as investors and their services refuse to acknowledge market realities. They hold out with sales prices that are not realistic. That has happened in Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester, the very area where high-cost loans prevail. Now, who are the top lenders—I mentioned them before—who are doing the damage in Boston? They are the ones who have the very high-cost lenders. In the past, we have seen them board up properties, bringing down the value of other homes in the area. We don’t want to slide back to where we were in 1992 when housing values hit the skids for 3 decades of selling for less than $100,000. The lending industry has changed since the 1990’s. Our lenders, the banks, have a much lower share of the market, about 20 percent. In their place have come non-traditional lenders offering teaser rates, expensive loans that rely on the promise of future refinancing, and high fees. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 11 No one at the front end cares about the long-term performance of these loans. It’s all about short-term gains, taking the fees and sending the high-cost mortgage forward. Now it seems like Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, and hundreds of communities across the country are paying the price for these lending malpractices which are out of control with little oversight. Foreclosures have increased in Boston, but our City has fewer foreclosures than any other city in the State. I attribute our relatively good numbers to the efforts that are put into home buyer education and foreclosure prevention. Our foreclosure prevention program, Don’t Borrow Trouble, has been helping homeowners since 1999. Ten years ago, I established a Home Center, a one-stop shopping place for home buyers. We offer information on mortgage products and sponsor home buying education classes, and require home buyers to take part in certified classes in order to receive city down-payment assistance. More than 4,400 people have participated in this program, predominantly, low and moderate income, have bought homes in Boston, after completing our classes and receiving our financial help. Notably, the foreclosure rate for this group is less than 1 percent, compared to the market foreclosure rate in Boston of 2.5 percent. Now, who receives our financial assistance? 40 percent are Black, 20 percent are Hispanic. Our graduates are proof that minority families can succeed at homeownership. Our classes teach people to become savvy buyers, choosing reputable lenders, and asking the right questions. Based on our experience, I recommend the following. The mortgage lending industry must re-commit itself to home buyer education, so every time buyers—first-time buyers have the opportunity to complete a certified course, much like those offered through the Home Care Center. Congress must do everything in its power to continue to shed light on disparities in lending by non-traditional lenders, much like we are doing today with this hearing. I urge Congress to support more natural efforts, such as Freddie Mac’s Credit Smart Program which provides families with the competence and knowledge to succeed financially, because poverty should not be a life sentence. I further recommend that the Massachusetts State Legislature support pending legislation that requires mortgage companies, licensed in Massachusetts, to comply with laws that require them to meet local credit needs. For many years, I have supported this legislation. It has become more important now that non-bank mortgage lenders provide most of the home mortgage loans in the State. Finally, I recommend that our community organizations become proponents of consumer education, all aspects of consumer lending. This means that financial literacy would be as common as driver’s education for new drivers, with information offered through workshops, public service announcements, and adult education. Thank you for your thoughts on this issue, and I want to say that this issue, once again, plagues the most vulnerable in our society. There are folks who go out there and sell these mortgages to these individuals with a blue note, you know, low down payment, no interest, and 5 years later you get whacked. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 12 Mr. Chairman, and your committee, thank you for listening to us today. It’s an important issue and it affects all our neighborhoods. [The prepared statement of Mayor Menino can be found on page 112 of the appendix.] The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mayor. I just want to emphasize to the Governor, the Mayor, the Attorney General, local officials, and others Members of Congress that this hearing is not a one-track deal. This is part of a sustained cooperative effort at all levels to make this thing work. Next, another official who has taken a real lead in this, in setting a national example, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth, Martha Coakley. STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MARTHA COAKLEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL, COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS Ms. COAKLEY. Thank you, Chairman Frank, Congressmen Lynch and Capuano, and my colleagues, Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino, for your comments today and for your ongoing efforts in this State to address what we can. I appreciate the opportunity today to address the critical issue of mortgage lending and foreclosure crisis, and, particularly, the issue of racial and ethnic disparities in mortgage lending. I had the privilege of taking office to serve as Attorney General in January of this year, with the rising wave of home foreclosures that continue to have a devastating impact on the people and communities across Massachusetts. And, if the statistics are true, we’ll continue to in the next few years. We have not seen the worst of this in some respects. We began to take a multi-faceted approach consistent with my role as Attorney General that has four prongs. We began investigations and enforcement actions, civil litigation, to hold accountable those who engage in unlawful predatory lending or foreclosure conduct, including lenders, brokers, closing attorneys, appraisers, foreclosure rescue scam artists, and others who cross the line of fair, lawful lending practices. After hearings across the State this summer, we are promulgating, very shortly, more comprehensive and finely-tuned mortgage broker and lender regulations, based upon our authority under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 93A. Working with the National Consumer Law Center, the Boston Bar Association, and others, we created a pro bono lawyer referral service, so those facing foreclosure, potentially, could have access to legal advice that otherwise would be unavailable, and we appreciate the Governor’s incentives and initiatives in this area where we have cooperated trying to provide legal assistance to people who can get it under the current law. We continue to work with State and Federal legislators, regulators, and law enforcers to seek solutions for the present lending and foreclosure crisis, and our role also is to look at preventing a recurrence in the future. I want to commend Mayor Menino for his work in the financial literacy area. I think that’s extremely important that we able to focus on that. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 13 We did, as a result of what we thought was an immediate crisis, issue an emergency regulation that under Chapter 93A bans foreclosure rescue schemes that are unfair and deceptive. We just recently made that a permanent regulation, and we will shortly issue, not only a report as a result of our hearings this summer, which the Mayor attended, many other legislators and individuals in Massachusetts, but four additional regulations under Chapter 93A, one of which may help address the issues that we’re talking about today, because it will prohibit mortgage lenders from steering borrowers to loan products that are more costly than those the borrower qualified for, and it prohibits lenders from discriminating between similarly situated borrowers, one of the reasons that we face the problem we do, particularly, in our minority communities today. In our efforts this summer, we have gone across Massachusetts. We have talked with victims of unfair, deceptive, and illegal lending practices, as well as those who have been victimized, doubly victimized, by the foreclosure rescue scams. And, we have had, we’ve seen in the last 180 days in Boston 1,000 home foreclosures. They’ve been clustered in low-income and minority neighborhoods, particularly, in Dorchester, East Boston, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and Roxbury. For example, in Mattapan, which is 77 percent African American and 13 percent Latino, from January of 2006 to May of 2007, there were 164 closures out of a total 479 loans. The disproportionate impact of foreclosures on minority communities may be a predictable, but no less disturbing reflection of the fact that African American and Latino borrowers are more likely to get high APR adjustable percentage rate loans than their White counterparts, regardless of their income level. This fact has been confirmed by the Federal Reserve Board, with its release last month of mortgage lending data under the Federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, or HMDA as referenced earlier. Before addressing that 2006 data, I just want to acknowledge the work, and I know you will hear from him later, Professor Jim Campen and the Mass Community Banking Council, analyzing that information, as he mentioned earlier this year, year after year, in a way that may have seemed fruitless, but, certainly, is extremely important to the work we do today and the work we will do tomorrow, on this issue of lending and racial disparities. In greater Boston, the high APR share for African Americans is nearly 4 times greater than the share for Whites with respect to home purchase loans, and 3 times greater for finance loans. Among Latino borrowers, the share of high APR home purchase loans is 4 times higher than for White borrowers, and the share of high APR refinance loans is 3 times higher. These patterns are present at all income levels, with the racial disparities becoming more pronounced among higher income borrowers. In Boston, only 9.4 percent of the highest income White home purchase borrowers received high APR loans. In contrast, 71.1 percent of the highest income Black home purchase borrowers received high APR loans. The figure was 56.2 percent for the highest income Latinos. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 14 The 2006 HMDA data released in September indicates similar nationwide trends, and the analysis revealed substantial differences across racial and ethnic lines in the incidence of higherpriced mending, and in denial rates. Further, it showed that such differences could not be fully explained by factors in the HMDA data. The fact of racial and ethnic disparities in mortgage lending and in foreclosures is clear. The reason for these disparities are less clear, I will acknowledge that, but the complexity of this issue should not be underestimated. We cannot ignore economic factors, but neither can we ignore a history of housing discrimination and resulting segregated housing patterns, imbalanced and unequal access to financial services, and discriminatory lending practices. Let me just give you two quick illustrations of the people behind these numbers. We just recently brought a civil suit against Fremont. It is pending. The allegations are just that, but we have alleged that Fremont, who originally approximately originated approximately 15,000 loans to Massachusetts borrowers since 2004, and it’s set forth in that complaint, Fremont used a network of brokers and sales people to sell unduly risky loans that were designated to fail, including loan products with 100 percent financing, stated income loans and adjustable rate mortgages with dramatic increases in monthly payments after 2 or 3 years. Borrowers were qualified for adjustable rate mortgages based upon the initial teaser low interest rate without regard to their ability to pay the higher adjustable rates which would increase every 6 months. One Fremont customer lives in Dorchester. She’s a single mother of three children, and a mortgage broker steered her to Fremont to finance the purchase of two multi-family homes. Fremont approved her for two loans, despite the fact that her total monthly income was $1,800. Her broker promised her that she’d be able to reduce her mortgage payments through refinancing, and induced her to sign a blank loan application which the broker used to submit false information about her employment and monthly income. She was discouraged from hiring counsel by her broker. She learned for the first time at closing that her monthly mortgage payments would be more than $7,000 a month, and could adjust from her initial interest rate up to 14.65 percent. Although Fremont, obviously, should have known she did not qualify for the mortgage, Fremont paid the broker over $7,000 for arranging that mortgage. Fremont then passed this cost on to her. Another Fremont borrower resides in Dorchester, and purchased a multi-family house by taking out a Fremont loan. Although she filled out a loan application listing her salary of $2,000 a month, she received letters from Fremont stating her mortgage payments would be more than her entire monthly salary. She called her broker to say she could not afford the mortgages and did not want to go forward. Her broker told her the letters were wrong, her monthly payments would be lower. When she attended the closing and saw the fees, she initially refused to sign the papers, but Fremont’s lawyer told her it was too late to back out and she would owe the money anyway. In her efforts to pay her mortgages, she VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 15 depleted her entire life savings and then lost her home to foreclosure. These are just two of the thousands of people in Massachusetts who have lost their homes and their savings as a result of irresponsible and in some cases illegal lending practices in recent years. I want to make an additional request to our panel today, and I would like to address the issue of Federal preemption, respectfully ask this committee to consider whether a return to the well-tested dual enforcement roles of the State and Federal Government would better serve both consumers and responsible lenders. Increasingly, the traditional and critical role of the States in ensuring fair lending is challenged by those who argue the rule is preempted by Federal law. In fact, recently, when New York, the New York Attorney General began an investigation, the OCC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, argued that he could not do that because he was preempted by Federal law. A recent Supreme Court decision upholds those findings and said that the New York Attorney General could not issue subpoenas or inspect books and records, because it was not within the scope of his responsibility anymore to institute actions in the Court of Justice against national banks to enforce State fair lending laws. It is increasingly important, I think, that we be allowed to do the kinds of enforcement that we have done so far, but we are stopped. As Mayor Menino noted, of the five top lenders in Massachusetts for subprime mortgages, only one of them, Fremont Investment and Loan, against whom we have filed suit, is under our jurisdiction. The other are nationally chartered banks and we have no authority to investigate or to bring lawsuits against them. In order to best address this, we would ask that the committee give serious consideration to restoring the effective dual Federal and State enforcement role by limiting in certain circumstances Federal preemption. Finally, Congressman Frank, I appreciate your efforts to expand reporting under HMDA. Unless we have the data, we can’t know where this is going. We see the statistics. We see the impact. We need the data. We also know that credit scores are one of the several variables that logically should be reported by lenders to the Federal Reserve Board for inclusion in that data. Finally, we understand that the public has not had information about how interest rates below the threshold are distributed. Banks do not report points, pre-payment penalties, loan to value ratios, or the debt to income ratios. All of these variable and more could help enforcement authorities to better understand the critical issue of racial and ethnic disparity in mortgage lending. We must act at the State and Federal level to address these abuses now and going forward. I will continue to do so in my role as Attorney General. I know I will have the cooperation of my colleagues today, the Governor and Mayor Menino, and we appreciate that you and the members of this committee are taking this so seriously. Thank you for your opportunity to testify today. [The prepared statement of Attorney General Coakley can be found on page 84 of the appendix.] VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 16 The CHAIRMAN. I want to assure you, Attorney General, first of all, that many of us on the Democratic side were very unhappy with the degree of pre-emptiveness which the Comptroller of the Currency and has engaged in. As a practical matter, we would not be able to totally undo that. I can give you two encouragements. First of all, we will, in the legislature and our committee, have dual relationships. We will have a set of rules that will apply to brokers, but where the States have good rules in place we will defer to them, that is, we will set a Federal floor. And secondly, there’s a very important case now pending that you are probably familiar with out of Ohio, where the Office of Peer Supervision was overruled on a preemption case, and allowed the State to regulate the mortgage broker, was upheld, and we are in the process of urging the Office of Peer Supervision not to appeal that case, but to allow that and continue that. Mr. Capuano. Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I don’t have any questions, I just want to thank the three panelists. I mean, I’m familiar with all their work, and it’s not just now. I want to make it very clear that the three of them that I know of have been working at this stuff for a long time. And, I can’t tell you how proud it makes me to come from Massachusetts and the greater Boston area to have people like this representing me, and working on our behalf, because as we all know, I want to draw a nice big bold line under this, we will get through pretty much whatever legislation Barney wants us to get through with the House. And, people need to understand that. And, I can’t tell you how beneficial that is for all of us. But, we will have difficulties probably in the Senate, and we will have significant difficulties in the White House for another 18 months or so. So, therefore, some of the things, typically, like preemption, I don’t know whether we’ll actually succeed in doing some of the things that we want to do. We’ll get them through the House with no question, but I just don’t know how far they are going to go. And, it becomes very important that the three of you and others are doing this as well, actually continue to proceed as strongly and as vehemently as you can, and we will do everything we can to help you and support you. I also want to, again, reiterate what I said earlier. I was talking about the Congress, but I want to point out very clearly that the Governor is a representation of significant change. Many of the people in this room know that the concern about subprime loans is not new. Now, some of the results of that concern have only been seen in the last 6 to 9 months, or a year, but the concern has been there for many, many years, for those of us who have watched this issue grow. And, I will tell you, unequivocally, that last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, the Governor’s office and all his appointees really didn’t react, and the fact that this Governor is new and reacting so strongly, and so positively, I think is a great thing for all of us and I want to thank the Governor for participating like this. Governor PATRICK. Thank you. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 17 The CHAIRMAN. Representative Lynch. Mr. LYNCH. Thank you, and again, thank you for your willingness to come here and help the committee with its work. One of the frustrating parts about this, the whole problem with the foreclosures, and the subprime market, is the speed of response. Now, we heard on our committee from the Bush Administration about things they are going to do in the future, but all of the relief that we’ve heard them talk about has been prospective. They speak nothing about the families who have already been hurt, and that’s very troubling. In fact, the only, I think, real-time response that we’ve seen in this has been from the three of you, in terms of legal action against Fremont, the work with HMFA, the Mass Housing Finance Agency, coming up with that money, and the work that the Mayor has done. One of the frustrating parts of this is that the time that it’s taking to help the families who are going under is maddening, it’s frustrating, and are there tools that we might be able to provide to you, are there things that we could be doing to help you on the local level, since it’s taking so long to convince this current Administration of the urgency of this matter, are there things that we could help the three of you with in terms of freeing you up? I know, Attorney General, you mentioned some of the reporting requirements, and those are good once they are in place, but are there things that we could be doing now to help you step in in a quicker fashion to save some of these families’ homes? Governor PATRICK. Well, I just thank you for the opening, Congressman. First of all, on the rescue fund and Mass Housing’s contribution, that would not be possible or as effective without Fannie Mae’s participation, and I know that the chairman was helpful in getting Fannie Mae to pony up and, frankly, it would be helpful to get them to pony up some more. We’ll be working with Mass Housing to do that, because the refinancing opportunity, creating terms that allow families to stay in their homes, seems to me to be the first order of business. Now, not all of that has to be done by rescue funds like the Mass Housing Fund. Some of that has to be taken on by lenders themselves, willing to refinance the terms. And so, I congratulate the chairman and all of you for calling together the various stakeholders at the Fed soon to start to juggle around that. But, there’s no doubt about the fact that having funds available to help with refinancing, or your additional pressure on some of the lenders together with us to refinance those loans so people can stay in their homes is very, very effective and helpful. The CHAIRMAN. Mayor? Mr. MENINO. The Governor is correct. Several months ago, I brought several of the lending institutions to my office, talking about the mortgage issue, and they’ve set up a pool of resources together. We, as elected officials, have that opportunity to bring those individuals, they don’t want us to be talking to them in public, they want to help us when they see the problem out there, because they are afraid of the press they are going to get, and it’s important we VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 18 use our usability pulpit to make sure that these lending institutions know that we are watching them. The mortgage companies need some regulations now. We can’t wait 6 months, 9 months, or 10 months. The CHAIRMAN. Well, I appreciate that. We put in the usability pulpit, and if necessary we may be a little stronger to bully all week on the pulpit. But, we do plan to be as persuasive as we can. I thank the panel. We will dismiss them now. The next panel we are going to hear consists of City Councilors Sam Yoon and Chuck Turner, if they want to come forward, and we’ll take a brief recess while our three officials depart. [Recess] The CHAIRMAN. We will resume the hearing, and we have two City Councilors, Councilor Yoon and Councilor Turner. I understand Councilor Yoon is an At-Large Councilor, but we are in Councilor Turner’s district, and he’s my college classmate. So, on grounds of seniority, we are going to begin with Councilor Turner, Councilor Chuck Turner who is our host here at RCC. Chuck? STATEMENT OF CHUCK TAYLOR, CITY COUNCILOR, CITY OF BOSTON Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you very much, Congressmen Frank, Lynch, and Capuano. I’m going to try to be very brief and hold my comments within 2 minutes, so that you can have time to hear all the other speakers. I want to begin just by saying that I really appreciate the way Congressman Frank framed the issue in terms of pointing out the discrimination against potential homeowners of color, and how that discrimination has led to the development of the predatory lending practice which in the last 2, 3, or 4 years has grown to a level of greed and financial obscenity that I have never seen in my 67 years. I’m a member of an organization that was recently formed to fight back. Obviously, there are other organizations, but we thought that given the situation we are facing there needed to be a coming together of organizations, so we formed the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lenders. On Thursday, last Thursday, we held a press conference and set of demonstrations, a press conference to announce the formation of the Mass Alliance, but also to give an opportunity to Countrywide mortgage holders, as well as mortgage holders from other predatory lenders, so that the press could begin to understand what I think the Attorney General so clearly pointed out, and that is that the vast majority of these foreclosures are not because people have been irresponsible, it was because the mortgage companies were irresponsible and criminal in terms of setting up mortgages that were designed not to succeed. Because of that, we sent a letter, the Alliance sent a letter to the head of Countrywide, who, interestingly enough, just sold all his stock, saying that he and his company had a responsibility as the largest of these predatory lending companies in this country to restructure the loans in terms that people could afford, that is, that VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 19 they had to do what they should have done before, and that is make sure that these loans are affordable, and that our only alternative, as the people of this City, and State, and country, if they aren’t willing to do that, is to shut them down, shut them down through a boycott. And so, I’m just using this opportunity to, one, announce that there is a boycott that has been launched against Countrywide and other lenders who refuse to restructure the loans in ways that are affordable and appropriate. Secondly, we are going to ask the State to move beyond the suggestions that were put forward today. We believe that the State needs to have a law that would require a financial institution to go to court in order to exercise a foreclosure. When you look at these loan agreements, when you hear homeowners who are facing these horrendous situations talk about how this situation was created with these mortgage companies, it becomes clear that the courts need to be looking at each and every one of these agreements. The National Bankers Association has come out with a set of principles that they feel should guide the writing of these mortgages. They are not being adhered to by many of these companies, but we believe that a law needs to be passed immediately in Massachusetts that would require each and every foreclosure to go before a judge, and the judge to have a set of standards to use to determine whether that foreclosure is, in fact, a fair one, and if not, to take action to prevent the company from moving forward. Thirdly, in terms of Federal actions, we applaud the action to bring all companies, mortgage companies, financial service companies, under the provisions that are now covering the State—covering banks that are chartered by the Federal Government. However, we think you need to move beyond that. We think there needs to be Federal protection of the tenants and resident homeowners in buildings that are foreclosed. You know, and I know, that once the building is foreclosed, the next step is to go into court and clear the building so that these institutions can then put them back on the market to make even more illegal profits, from my perspective. The Federal Government could play a major role in stopping this action by having a provision that stops these companies from clearing the buildings. Tenants are paying their rent, and only because of the actions of the bank to foreclose are they being evicted. These financial institutions need to be stopped from being able to do that. And finally, we would call on Congress, particularly the House, to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate what we think is a ‘‘Mortgagegate,’’ that is, we think that this is a situation where a group of institutions have worked to misuse our financial system, and misuse people in this country, and that we need to, in fact, as a country, and, particularly, the Federal Government, step forward and acknowledge that this isn’t just irresponsible lending, it’s criminal action, appoint a special prosecutor. If Milliken could go to jail for selling junk bonds, then certainly the Wall Street people and these bankers, who put together these packages of subprime lending, should be sent to jail for selling junk mortgages to investors, when they knew the mortgage was going to fail. Thank you. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 20 The CHAIRMAN. And, now, Councilor Sam Yoon. STATEMENT OF SAM YOON, AT-LARGE BOSTON CITY COUNCILOR Mr. YOON. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you very much for this opportunity. I think it’s in line with what has been said at this hearing, to extend the level of cooperation from Federal, State, local, and even the local city council level, I think is tremendously important, and I thank you for this opportunity. As Chair of the City Council’s Housing Committee, I recently held hearings on the subprime mortgage foreclosure crisis, which is one of the topics that you are looking at today. A lot of the folks who are testifying today had testified at this City Council hearing as well, too, and I want to thank you for taking the step of having a field hearing on this issue, bringing it to the community, so that people in the community can bear witness to the way the government is working together and paying attention to this issue. It’s vitally important. The City of Boston, while we are not doing as badly in a proportional sense to other cities in the State, has, nevertheless, been hard hit by this crisis, by the foreclosure crisis, and that’s largely to do with our size. You know, based on our size and the size of our minority communities. I mean, you are going to hear testimony from experts on this today. During the hearing that I sponsored on May 7th, it became clear to me and my Council colleagues that out-of-State mortgage companies were developing business models that feature these aggressive marketing—featured aggressive marketing of high-cost, exotic mortgages, to unsuspecting consumers. And, as the Attorney General laid out, in many cases there was outright fraud. The idea of these rescue mortgages is something that is just blatantly wrong and predatory. And, I support the Attorney General’s efforts to criminalize this kind of mortgage fraud and predatory lending practice. It’s great to hear Councilor Turner’s perspective on this as well. I think that he’s always been a strong ally for us on the City Council, and going to court even to exercise a foreclosure, I think, is something that’s worth raising as an issue. Currently, record numbers of foreclosures and auctions are threatening the stability of Boston’s neighborhoods, and that’s a large part of the reason why I wanted to have a hearing at the city level. Stable homeownership and tenancy is an important part of the city’s ongoing efforts to combat violent crime. Stable homeownership, tenancy, it’s an important part of our efforts to reform and improve the schools. Homeownership, stable tenancy, is basic to economic stability of neighborhoods at that level, at a neighborhood and community level. The presence of homeowners is an anchor that creates stability for future generations. In order to address this crisis, as we are saying here today, legislative remedies are needed at the State and Federal, and even at the local levels. I want to thank you, originally, my testimony said I urge you, but I want to thank you that what you are looking at seems to be VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 21 extending community reinvestment-like requirements on all mortgage brokers and lenders, similar to the requirements that exist for banks. It was great to hear Governor Patrick’s testimony that shows clearly that this is being looked at on the State level, and maybe legislatively the path to success to some sort of realization will be sooner, here at the State level. We have to have comprehensive reporting requirements for all mortgage lenders in order to review and rate lenders on their performance. The fact that this was triggered in Chairman Frank’s mind and his office by HMDA data, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, look at what it’s done in order to just be able to say, we need to have a hearing on this, because the numbers make it clear that there’s something wrong going on. So, a CRA style rating system for all mortgage lenders has to be put into place, and those results must be published every year. We must also establish annual licensing requirements for mortgage brokers, and require that brokers who are offered high-cost loans, or borrowers who are offered high cost loans, receive in-person counseling with a qualified nonprofit. We have some of the best housing nonprofits and advocates in our city, I think nationally. We should take full advantage of that and, in fact, require it. We also have to require fuller disclosure of terms for mortgage advertising, and here again, at a communications level, leadership at the Federal level for this is going to be essential to realizing it. Further legislative remedies are needed to round out comprehensive solution to the crisis. I think Congressman Lynch has mentioned this, that there are families who are going through this right now, or are about to go through it, and we need additional consumer protection for those facing foreclosure and eviction. I believe lenders have to give borrowers at least a 90-day period in which they can correct any ‘‘delinquency’’ and reinstate the loan before imposing attorney fees. I think borrowers should have the right to cure mortgage defaults up to the very date of the foreclosure auction. I think it’s encouraging to hear that you are, basically, going to call the lenders, mortgage lenders, and even banks, to the carpet at the Federal Reserve, and I think 2 weeks, as you mentioned, Congressman Frank, Mr. Chairman. We should require lenders to work with our housing advocates and nonprofits, many of which are in this room. As I said, we have some of the best in Boston. We should provide that relief to borrowers who are facing economic—yes, we’ll wrap up. In summary, we do need to look for creative solutions to this problem, and again, cooperation among all levels of government is absolutely essential. My office, just to wrap up, has been getting calls from families who are facing foreclosure every week, and I want to thank the Mayor, who has been working with us at the city to provide money to counseling services, referred families to the Mattapan MultiService Center, to ESAC, to Urban Edge, and what I’ve heard anecdotally is that the workers there who are counseling need to— Yes, and thank you very much. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 22 [The prepared statement of Mr. Yoon can be found on page 116 of the appendix.] The CHAIRMAN. Let me say to Councilor Turner, on the question of tenants being evicted, I will confess that I was not aware of that. I was out in August in Minneapolis, at the request of our colleague, Keith Ellison, and heard that. We have been looking at it. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a Federal remedy now. We have written letters which are going out from our committee to State officials and others urging banks and others who foreclose not to make that an automatic eviction. The order can stop them, but it doesn’t make them do it either. Secondly, and I had this conversation with members of our staff who were drafting our subprime bill, we are going to write into the draft of the legislation some protection for tenants. We do want to make it clear that foreclosures should not eviscerate leases, and we are going to try to provide some protection for tenants going forward. So, I thank you for that. Mr. Capuano. Mr. CAPUANO. I’m glad you pointed that out, Mr. Chairman, because I would, basically, say the same things. Right now there’s no Federal hook into the tenancy issues, except some minor things on the side. If you can find something that maybe could stand up in court, we’d be more than happy to work with you, because we understand fully well it’s a serious issue. The CHAIRMAN. I’d just say, the other one is a constitution issue—there’s nothing we can do about a special prosecutor. I mean, the courts have made that very clear. We can investigate, but we can’t even hold anybody in contempt of Congress, because the courts have held that if Members of Congress summon a witness, and the witness declines to testify, even if Congress would have voted a contempt citation, the Justice Department could decline to prosecute. But, we will do the other things. Mr. Lynch. Mr. LYNCH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have no questions, I just want to thank both Councilor Turner and Councilor Yoon for their work. You have been right out in front on this with tenants and with people who are being affected immediately on this. I want to thank you both for your great work on it. And, we, as a committee, will continue to work with you. I yield back. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Next, we’ll have our final panel: Mr. Campen, Ms. Hamilton, Ms. Adams-Heath, Mr. Alkins, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Clements, and Ms. Browne. I want to repeat that if there are any members of the audience, and I want to repeat again, that we have the statement from ACORN that Ms. Rhoderick gave us, and I will reassure that one of our key points about no preemption is going to be—we plan on that. If there are other organizations or individuals who have statements they would like to submit for the record, please feel free, and VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 23 if you came prepared to say something orally, and you are not ready to hand it in writing, submit it to my office in Newton by the end of the week and it can be incorporated in the record. So, we’ll keep the record open. Anyone who wanted to submit anything further in writing feel free to do that. And, let’s begin appropriately with Mr. Jim Campen, who is executive director of Americans for Fairness in Lending, and one of the leading students of this, one of the people whose work has brought this so much to the forefront. Mr. Campen. STATEMENT OF JIM CAMPEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICANS FOR FAIRNESS IN LENDING Mr. CAMPEN. Thank you. Chairman Frank, Representative Capuano, and Representative Lynch, I want to thank you for holding this field hearing, as others have done today, and for the opportunity to share with you some of the results of my research. My name is Jim Campen, and I am now, since October 1st, the executive director of Americans for Fairness in Lending, AFFIL. AFFIL is an umbrella organization that was created by and works with its partners, 17 national and regional consumer and grassroots organizations, including the Center for Responsible Lending, ACORN, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and the National Consumer Law Center. AFIL’s mission is to shine a spotlight on the egregiously unfair practices that are common across the entire spectrum of consumer lending, in order to build public understanding and outrage that may translate into broad grassroots pressure on lawmakers to bring about effective regulation of the lending industry. I am also professor emeritus of economics at UMASS Boston. I have concentrated for the last 15 years on researching patterns of mortgage lending. My testimony today will highlight three of the most significant findings that have emerged in the most recent reports in two annual series of reports that I do for the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council—Changing Patterns 13, about home purchase lending, and Borrowing Trouble 7, about subprime lending. First, there are enormous racial and ethnic disparities in mortgage lending here. Second, there have been dramatic changes in the types of lenders who are making mortgage loans. And third, it is the nature of the lending done by the expanding sector of the industry, independent mortgage companies who are largely unregulated by anyone, that underlies the enormous racial and ethnic disparities in higher cost lending. So first, the enormous disparities. Blacks and Latinos and their neighborhoods receive disproportionate shares of higher-cost loans. As you know, HMDA data now include limited information on loan pricing, making it possible to identify what the Fed calls higherprice loans. These are loans for which the annual percentage rate, APR, is at least 3 percentage points greater than the current interest rate on U.S. Treasury bonds of the same maturity. For brevity, I like to refer to these high APR loans as H–A–Ls, or HALs. The statistics that I would give you to illustrate these VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 24 dramatic enormous racial and ethnic disparities have been also referenced earlier today, so I won’t spend much time on that. Blacks and Latinos are 4 times more likely in the City, in greater Boston, to get high-cost loans when they make home purchases. 71 percent of all the Blacks in the highest income category, more than double the area median income, over $152,000 of income, 71 percent of these Black home buyers received HALs, compared to just 9 percent of White home buyers. There is great geographical disparity, for example, not only among cities and towns, but also among Boston neighborhoods. The share of home purchase loans that were HALs was 58 percent in Mattapan, 12 times higher than the 5 percent share in Charlestown. And, if you look at individual lenders, the three biggest overall lenders in Boston each had substantial disparity ratios for their high APR lending. That is, the share of their loans to Blacks that were HALs compared to the share of their loans to Whites. The Black/White disparity ratios were 3.5 at Countrywide, 6.0 at Wells Fargo, and 3.8 at Washington Mutual. Secondly, the dramatic changes in the nature of the lenders, the types of lenders making loans. In my research, I placed each lender into one of three categories, reflecting the extent to which lending is subject to Federal and State regulation. CRA lenders are defined as all banks that have one or more branches in the State, plus State-chartered credit unions. Lending in Massachusetts by these lenders is covered by the Federal and/ or State Community Reinvestment Act. Out-of-State banks, consisting, primarily, of banks with no branches in Massachusetts, they are subject to CRA evaluation of the lending they do in the areas where they have branches, but their lending in Massachusetts is not covered by the CRA. And, the third category is licensed mortgage lenders, LML lenders, defined as those who require a license to make mortgage loans in Massachusetts. These are, primarily, independent mortgage companies, not affiliated with any bank. These lenders are not subject to any kind of regulation by Federal Bank regulators. My research shows that the mortgage loan share accounted by CRA lenders has fallen precipitously, while the share accounted for by licensed mortgage lenders has risen dramatically. In the City of Boston, where I have data going back to 1980, the share of all home purchase loans accounted for by CRA lenders plunged from almost 4/5, 78 percent, of the loans in 1990 to just 1/5 of the loans in 2005. Statewide, the share of total home purchase and refinance loans accounted for by CRA covered lenders, which I’ve tracked for only 5 years, shrank from 37 percent in 2001 to 22 percent in 2005, while the loan share of licensed mortgage lenders doubled, from 24 percent to 48 percent. The linkage between these first two findings, huge disparities and a changing mix of lenders, is that LML lenders, the fastest growing and least regulated category, are responsible for the great majority of high APR loans, the loans that are directed very disproportionately to Black and Latino borrowers and communities. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 25 On the other hand, CRA lenders, whose share of total lending is rapidly shrinking, have by far the best record of making prime loans to those same borrowers and neighborhoods. In Massachusetts in 2005, CRA lenders accounted for just 1 percent of the total Massachusetts HALs, while LML lenders, licensed mortgage lenders, totally unregulated by the Federal Bank examiners, were responsible for 71 percent of all the HALs in the State. In 2005 in Massachusetts, none of the 20 biggest high APR lenders were covered by the CRA, while 16 of the top 20, including 4 of the top 5, were licensed mortgage lenders. In 2000, Boston’s lower-income, predominantly Black and Latino census tracts received 13 percent of all the loans made by CRA-covered lenders, twice the share that they got from prime, out-of-State banks, and licensed mortgage lenders, but far below the 31 percent share of all the loans made by subprime lenders, none of whom were CRA lenders. These findings are highly suggestive of reverse redlining by subprime lenders, that is, targeting the same highly-minority neighborhoods that were previously covered from redlining by prime mortgage lenders. In conclusion, I want to emphasize two principles that I believe should underline Congress’ response to the enormous racial disparities in mortgage lending, things that I believe you, members of this committee, understand well. First, the playing field really needs to be level, so that all mortgage lenders are subject to similar laws and regulations, so it will protect consumers from unfair and predatory practices, promote wealth building by households and communities, and prevent a race to the bottom where lenders who choose to maintain responsible lending practices face loss of market share to unscrupulous competitors. Part of that is a comprehensive anti-predatory lending legislation, but I think that my research findings underline, in particular, the need for modernizing the CRA, so that banks receive CRA performance evaluations everywhere that they account for a substantial share of total lending, not just where they have branches, so that CRA evaluations are formed on a comprehensive, corporate-wide level, rather than separately for each lending institution, each depository institution and affiliate or subsidiary, and that independent mortgage companies and credit unions will be subject to regulations, performance evaluations and ratings analogous to those that the CRA imposes on banks. Secondly, it’s important to enforce the laws that exist. It’s not true that all the lenders who aren’t licensed mortgage lenders do well, but some of the worst performers, including Fremont, which the Attorney General has lawsuits against, is a bank in California. And, in spite of this, it is a predatory lender that was allowed to run unchecked, basically, at least to the end of 2006. In an important respect, the current subprime mortgage lending crisis reminds me of the savings and loan crisis that was in full swing when I first began to focus my research on banking and mortgage lending in 1989. Then, as now, irresponsible lending on a massive scale had resulted in serious hardship for many borrowers and neighborhoods, failures for numerous large financial in- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 26 stitutions and significant impacts on the overall economy. The response then included new legislation to promote— The CHAIRMAN. Let’s stick with this one. We are running out of time, so let’s forget the S&L crisis and stick with the current crisis. Mr. CAMPEN. Okay, then, as now, then my Representative took the lead in that, Joe Kennedy. His successor, my Representative, is now taking the lead in this, along with you, who represents an adjacent district, and I’m proud of that. And, thanks again for the opportunity, I’ll answer any questions. [The prepared statement of Mr. Campen can be found on page 55 of the appendix.] The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We will be addressing the need to expand CRA next year, and we will be inviting you down to Washington to particularly focus on how best to reshape the CRA. Next, Ms. Ginny Hamilton, has already been introduced by her Congressman, Congressman Lynch. Ms. Hamilton is the executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. Ms. Hamilton. STATEMENT OF GINNY HAMILTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FAIR HOUSING CENTER OF GREATER BOSTON Ms. HAMILTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, including my Representative, for summarizing my comments quite well. My name is Ginny Hamilton. I work with the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, and we work to eliminate housing discrimination and promote open communities throughout the greater Boston region. We do this by providing education and training, community outreach, testing, research, policy advocacy, and case advocacy for people who have experienced housing discrimination. Approximately half of our funding comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fair Housing Initiatives Program, and we are active members of the National Fair Housing Alliance. My comments today are about our use of paired testing to document racial discrimination in lending in Boston and eastern Massachusetts. I come to you today because commentary on the foreclosure crisis regularly includes statements about African American and Latino borrowers posing more of a credit risk to lenders than White borrowers. Therefore, the logic goes, these buyers are more likely to end up with a subprime or potentially risky loan. This scenario may describe one piece of the problem, but it is not a complete accounting of the situation. Our testing shows evidence of discrimination against African American, Latino, and Asian home buyers, with good credit histories, sufficient savings, and solid income to secure prime market loans. During the 4 months from October 2005, to January 2006, we conducted testing to determine the extent and nature of discrimination in our region. We used racially matched pairs of trained volunteers to visit 10 banks and 10 mortgage lenders, and to report in detail on their experiences. Not low-income borrowers, all our testers inquired about a $475,000 mortgage, with $25,000 to put down as a downpayment. Ten pairs of testers were assigned credit scores VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 27 of approximately 750, and ten pairs assigned credit scores of approximately 650. In all pairs, the African American, Latino, and Asian testers were assigned slightly higher credit scores in income, slightly lower debt compared to their White counterpart, so that in a discrimination free environment the tester of color would have been slightly better qualified for the home loan. Even so, as Congressman Lynch referred, we found differences in treatment which disadvantaged the home buyer of color in 9 of the 20 matched pair tests which were conducted, 45 percent. Three specific examples to highlight, in 7 of the 20 tests, the White loan seeker received substantially more information from the lender about loan products and services, the financial literacy piece discussed earlier. In 4 of the 20 tests, the lender contacted the White tester after their meeting to follow up, but did not contact the tester of color. However, this never happened in reverse. And in 5 out of 20 tests, the White tester was offered a discount on closing costs, which was not offered to the tester of color, or was quoted a substantially lower closing cost than the tester of color, and these differences ranged from $500 to $3,600. In the first stages of shopping for a mortgage, limited product information, lack of follow-up, and quotes with high closing costs can discourage home seekers of color from pursuing homeownership at all, and if such specials, follow-up contact, and detailed product information are made available to Whites, but not to loan seekers of color, the lender is pursuing White customers, while allowing nonWhite potential customers to walk away. It’s important to note that none of the testers of color or the Whites were aware of their relative advantage or disadvantage. No individuals were subjected to overt discrimination, but this simple fact underscores the need for testing as a means of gauging discrimination, particularly in a lending industry characterized by such large differences and outcome as Jim and his data has described. If a loan seeker can’t detect these differences, and is going to a lender who is disadvantaging them, they may end up paying more for a loan, either within the main-line lending institution, or by turning to a subprime lender or a predatory lender who welcomes his or her business. And, when African American and Latinos pay substantially more per month than similarly-situated White people, these costs perpetuate the wealth vat between Whites and other racial groups, despite rising incomes and rates of homeownership amongst people of color. These higher costs also expose African American and Latino home buyers to higher risk of foreclosure than their White counterparts, who are welcomed into the prime market. Currently, most of the fair lending cases are brought by private fair housing organizations and individual attorneys, and while these private efforts are important the full engagement of responsible Federal Government agencies is an essential component of any serious effort to combat lending discrimination. If the Government fails to pursue such cases, or does not engage in competent effort to uncover discrimination, then most lending discrimination goes unchecked, and, indeed, for the entire history of our country it has. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 28 Increased and expanded regulation is important. However, enforcement is key as well. The lack of Federal enforcement actually provides a form of safe harbor for those in the industry engaging in discriminatory practices. This summer, HUD established fair lending enforcement offices, and recently announced funding for enforcement in eight of its regional partners, including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. We believe that this HUD office, and its State and local affiliates, should be given appropriate resources, especially including in-depth training, to proactively investigate fair lending violations, and we welcome this increased enforcement capacity locally and have begun conversations with the staff at MCAD and the Attorney General’s office to utilize testing to assist with their enforcement proceedings. As you have heard all morning, Massachusetts is at the forefront of the foreclosure crisis, but also at the forefront of efforts to remediate the problem, and we see today the State and local officials are engaged with community groups to enforce existing laws, strengthen oversight, and assist communities and consumers in duress. Congressional efforts to solve this problem nationally should not undermine efforts in the State to do so, and we appreciate your commitment, Mr. Chairman, to having Federal legislation be a floor, not a ceiling. To wrap up, I want to offer just a few recommendations. Congress should move to regulate all financial institutions active in lending, and many of the details of that have been shared by others today. That should not preempt the ability of State governments to enforce stricter consumer protection standards. Congress should require Federal enforcement in regulatory to undertake more aggressive, effective and expansive oversight and enforcement activities, and should make more extensive use of paired testing in their own enforcement activities, by contracting and working directly with qualified fair housing enforcement organizations. Congress and Federal agencies should provide an exemption to qualified fair housing organizations to allow mortgage lending testing beyond the pre-application phase of the mortgage lending process, which is all that we can test at this moment. Thank you for this opportunity to testify, and I’m happy to answer questions or share more details of our work. [The prepared statement of Ms. Hamilton can be found on page 92 of the appendix.] The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. I do want to note that we have been joined by another one of our hosts, State Representative Gloria Fox. Representative Fox, thank you for joining us. Ms. FOX. Good afternoon. The CHAIRMAN. And next, we will hear from Ms. Acia AdamsHeath, who is the president of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance. STATEMENT OF ACIA ADAMS-HEATH, PRESIDENT, MASSACHUSETTS AFFORDABLE HOUSING ALLIANCE Ms. ADAMS-HEATH. Good afternoon, and thank you, everyone. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 29 Chairman Frank, Congressman Capuano, and other members of the committee, I just wanted to thank you for holding this field hearing, just to echo Sam Yoon, in Roxbury today. My name is Acia Adams-Heath, and I am president of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance and a resident of Dorchester. MAHA is a nonprofit organization that works to increase public and private sector investment in affordable housing, and to break down the barriers facing low- and moderate-income first-time home buyers. MAHA’s signature achievement has been the establishment and expansion of the SoftSecond Mortgage Loan Program, which, with the support of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, has helped 10,000 families buy their first home. In today’s testimony, I wanted to summarize how the SoftSecond Program came to be and detail some of the remarkable statistics that make the program a model homeownership initiative. Finally, I will offer some recommendations for updating State and Federal laws regarding a lender’s responsibility to borrowers and to communities, but I will summarize in the interest of time. To understand how the SoftSecond came into play such an important role in the Boston area mortgage lending, you need to go back to 1989. On January 11, 1989, the Boston Globe front page had a lead story on a leak draft study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The study found racial disparities in bank mortgage lending patterns in Boston neighborhoods. That leak draft kicked off a 2-year effort to address these racial disparities that included protests, confrontations, negotiations, and ultimately collaboration. The centerpiece of these negotiations was a mortgage program that MAHA hoped would address these patterns of racial disparities and we call that the SoftSecond. The SoftSecond works because it is smartly designed and affordable over the long term for lower-income, first-time home buyers, and it gets its name from the fact that each borrower receives two loans, a 77 percent first mortgage and a second 20 percent mortgage that is interest only for 10 years before becoming a fully amortized loan over the last 20 years. Both loans are originated as slightly below market interest rates, and come with a small public subsidy that acts as a loan loss reserve for the lender and a further interest rate subsidy for the borrower. In the City of Boston, the SoftSecond program has become the leading anti-redlining program. From 1991 to 2006, 3,546 people received a SoftSecond loan. Over the last 3 years, the Black loan share in the program was 33 percent, while Black households account for just 21 percent of the City households. Latino share was nearly 27 percent, while they account for just under 11 percent of the households in the City, and the Asian share loan was 8.5 percent, while they account for just under 7 percent of the City’s households. Statewide, the numbers are just as impressive, with Black, Latino, and Asian loan shares anywhere from 2 to 5 times higher than these groups shares of total households in the State. The program is clearly worked to help bank lenders reverse patterns of ra- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 30 cial disparities, and it has been a significant program in terms of its impacts as well. SoftSecond loans total $1.4 billion in private sector lending to low- and moderate-income Massachusetts residents. In the City of Boston alone, in 2005, SoftSecond loans accounted for 20 percent of all home purchase loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers. The delinquency rates in the program still remain low, even with the growing foreclosure crisis in many of our neighborhoods. Our SoftSecond Statewide delinquency rate as of the end of 2006 is 2.2 percent compared to an overall Statewide delinquency rate on all mortgages of 2.8 for prime mortgages, and 15.4 percent for subprime. We have attached a complete report of the SoftSecond loan program offered by Professor Campen for the MCBC to our testimony today. It’s called, ‘‘Expanding Home Ownership Opportunities to the SoftSecond Loan Program, 1991 to 2006,’’ and it provides many more details about this incredible program. Lastly, the policy recommendations that those of us at MAHA have learned a lot over the past 20 years, we have seen the negative effects of not enough lending in our neighborhoods, have participated in the rise of homeownership levels for many of our fellow Black, Latino, and Asian neighbors, as the SoftSecond Program has grown, and now are fighting the impact of too many bad lending by largely unregulated institutions. Our State and Nation’s laws have simply not kept pace with the rapid change in our mortgage lending industry, and we urge the following policy changes. As has been said before, we support comprehensive anti-predatory lending legislation that would apply to all mortgage lenders. What Massachusetts did in 2004 is just not enough, and the current crisis is ample evidence of that. We need anti-predatory language that strikes at the heart of the business model used by many subprime lenders, language that makes it impossible for lenders to give a borrower a loan they know the borrower cannot pay back. It requires them to clearly market the terms and conditions of such loans in all advertising. Second, we need to do more than just stop bad lending. We must encourage good lending in all our neighborhoods. We support extending CRA or CRA-like requirements to all mortgage lenders wherever they lend. We believe this can be best done with States acting to impose CRA-like requirements on State license mortgage lenders, similar to Massachusetts Senate Bill No. 2299 that’s currently under consideration in the House of Representatives. In addition, we believe Congress should move to, one, extend bank CRA performance evaluations, not only for lending and assessment areas defined around the location of bank branches, but also for bank lending in every geographical area in which they have significant market share. In Boston, that would mean Wells Fargo and Washington Mutual, which have the same CRA responsibilities as Bank of America and Sovereign. Again, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to testify today, and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Ms. Adams-Heath can be found on page 42 of the appendix.] VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 31 The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Ms. Adams-Heath. Let me say that I note that we have also been joined by another member of the legislature, State Representative Liz Malia, our neighbor from Jamaica Plains is here. Next, the president emeritus of the Boston Chapter of the NAACP, Mr. Lenny Alkins. STATEMENT OF LEONARD ALKINS, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, NAACP BOSTON BRANCH Mr. ALKINS. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Capuano, Congressman Lynch, I want to thank you for the opportunity to address this prestigious committee on a very important issue which has destroyed the hopes and desires of families and individuals working to achieve the American dream. As it was said, I am Leonard Alkins, the former president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, which is the oldest branch of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People established in 1911. Over the last century, the NAACP has been an agent for change in some of the key civil rights activities of our time: housing; banking; and economic development, to name a few. The perpetual drive of equality led the NAACP to fight against the practices of redlining and to challenge financial institutions to reinvest in the community. How ironic is it that we are now faced with a different side of the problem? Today, many of those same families that we fought with to become homeowners are witnessing the curdling of their American dream. On July 11th of this year, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Baltimore, Maryland, filed a Federal class action lawsuit against 14 of the country’s largest subprime mortgage lenders including: Ameriquest; Fremont; Option One; WMC Mortgage; Long Beach Mortgage; BNC Mortgage; Accredited Home Lending; Encore; First Franklin; HSBC; and Washington Mutual. The lawsuit is designed to bring about equitable lending practices that do not adversely affect borrowers based on their race. In 2004, Chapter 268 of the Acts of 2004 was enacted to address predatory lending here in Massachusetts, by forbidding anyone from arranging a high-cost mortgage unless he or she ‘‘reasonably believes’’ that the borrower will be able to repay it. State consumer protection regulations also prevented brokers from withholding information that might cause potential borrowers to back off. However, many brokers ignored that provision. What does this tell us? We need legislation that is strong and has the necessary consequences for anyone who is found guilty of violating the law. Congress and the President of the United States must commit to passing and signing a bill that ensures accountability with substantial fines and potential incarceration for anyone who violates the law. Only then will we begin to see the fruits of our labor. Mr. Chairman, as well as members of this distinguished committee, let me caution you that anything short of what I am suggesting will have us addressing the same issue again within the next decade. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 32 In closing, let me remind you of the words of a great drum major in the struggle for equality and justice for all people, the late civil rights leader, Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer, who eloquently stated, ‘‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.’’ Our community is calling on this Congress to create lasting protection for the many people who attempted to own their homes and fulfill that American dream. I humbly suggest that you take all of the testimony that is offered here today, as well as other testimony you may have received from individuals and organizations from around the country, and use this information to build a bipartisan coalition to redraft a strong bill that will address all the problems of predatory lending. The time is now for the Congress to stand up and speak for the people, to tell the special interest groups that too many individuals and families have been harmed or destroyed by these illegal practices. Enough is enough. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of this committee, for taking the time to travel to Roxbury in the City of Boston to listen to our concerns. [The prepared statement of Mr. Alkins can be found on page 46 of the appendix.] The CHAIRMAN. Next we will have Mr. Thomas Kennedy, the senior vice president of Sovereign Bank. STATEMENT OF THOMAS B. KENNEDY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SOVEREIGN BANK NEW ENGLAND Mr. KENNEDY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m honored to be here to testify before you and your committee, Representative Lynch, and Representative Capuano. I have to say that Congressman Frank has been my Congressman now ever since he has been in Congress, a fact of which I’m very proud, and I am especially pleased to be here to testify. I have submitted written testimony. I will not recite all of that here. I would just give you some highlights from my perspective, in terms of an $81 billion bank that has a significant presence, not only in Massachusetts, but throughout the northeast, and the MidAtlantic States begin by saying that community reinvestment and community development starts at the top of the house, and we are very fortunate in that we have leadership, first when Sovereign came to New England in March of 2000, with John Hamill, who remains as chairman of the bank in New England, and now Joseph Camponelli, who is president and CEO of the bank, to lead our commitment in terms of reinvestment in terms of, not only this community, but throughout our footprint. We see that community development, indeed, is good business and, indeed, mortgage lending is very good business as well. We have demonstrated that through significant commitments that we have made over an extended period of time. We are currently in a commitment of some $16 billion to reinvest in the communities in which we have a principal banking presence, including mortgage lending. This gets reflected in local agreements that we have signed here, first with the Community Advisory Committee here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and, specifically, with Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance with the VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 33 SoftSecond Mortgage Program, has already been testified the most successful first-time, low-income mortgage program in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and we are now the leading mortgage originator of that product here in the Commonwealth. One of the reasons I believe for the success of what we have learned as a banking institution in this community has come about as a result of collaboration, not only with State and local government, but community groups as well. And, this has led to significant commitments and has led to success in terms of our being a banking institution in this community. I’d also like to say that this has led to significant demonstration of personnel, of product, of program— The CHAIRMAN. Kenny, we really are here for a very specific point, so let’s not get way beyond—personnel, we’ll get to it in another hearing. We are here about subprime and we are here about housing mortgage discrimination. Mr. KENNEDY. All right. In terms of subprime, that is not a product that we are participating in, that’s not—we have some 35— The CHAIRMAN. Well then, you can just move on to the next— then the question would be discrimination in home mortgages, would the other issue be relevant to it? Mr. KENNEDY. The other issue, we do analyze very carefully the mortgage denial rate disparity that when you do the analysis of our 206 mortgage lending data, there is a disparity there that we notice, and has been, that we are attempting to address with these particular programs, that is something that we are not proud of, but it is something that we, as an industry, have been working on through the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council, attempting to address those issues, to put in programs and policies that would address and bring that closer to parody. And, in my testimony, I’ve demonstrated what we’ve attempted to do in terms of trying to address that, in terms of our continuing outreach to the community, per se. [The prepared statement of Mr. Kennedy can be found on page 105 of the appendix.] The CHAIRMAN. Ms. Browne, Lynn Browne, is executive vice president and senior economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. STATEMENT OF LYNN E. BROWNE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND SENIOR ECONOMIST, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF BOSTON Ms. BROWNE. Chairman Frank, Representative Capuano, and Representative Lynch, I’m very pleased to be here and share my views on housing patterns in the greater Boston area. I am responsible for community affairs and consumer education at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The past 10 years have seen dramatic changes in housing and mortgage markets, both nationally and here in the Boston area. Until quite recently, housing prices were rising rapidly, and homeownership was rising, especially, for minorities. There were, as you’ve heard from others, negative developments, in particular, it was apparent with the HMDA data that Blacks and Latinos were disproportionately likely to get high-rate loans, VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 34 and disproportionately likely to be served by mortgage lenders specializing in high-rate loans. While these were certainly disturbing developments, many people took comfort from the fact that homeownership was rising. With housing prices rising, presumably, many households were accumulating housing equity and wealth. That situation has changed dramatically in the past year. We have seen housing prices level off, and in the greater Boston area by some measures they have declined. We have seen foreclosure initiations increase sharply. Here in Massachusetts, they have gone from way below the national average to about the national average. Foreclosure initiations are also rising nationally, but not quite as sharply because there were parts of the country like the Great Lake States that had pretty high foreclosure rates for some time. The rise in foreclosure initiations has been particularly pronounced for subprime loans with adjustable rates. Although these account for only about 10 percent of mortgages, in Massachusetts, they account for about 50 percent of the foreclosure initiations. But, it is not just those categories of loans. We are also seeing pick ups in foreclosure initiations among subprime fixed loans and prime adjustable. I think the problem is going to get worse before it gets better. In particular, in the recent past, with housing prices rising rapidly, borrowers who faced difficulties or faced the prospect of a reset in their adjustable rate mortgages could refinance. Now that housing prices have leveled off or are declining, that option is much less likely to be available. Additionally, many recent subprime borrowers do, indeed, face the prospect of substantial increases in their interest rates. What are commonly called 2/28 and 3/27 mortgages have been quite popular recently. These have an initial teaser rate that holds for about 2 or 3 years before resetting, and these were quite prevalent in 2005 and 2006. So we are coming up—have been coming up on the resets. In fact, and this is relevant as we think about what to do going forward, that teaser rate is not all that low. We have had some Boston Fed researchers looking at loans in the Middlesex County area, and they find that the teaser rate for 2/28s originated in 2005 was about 7 percent, and 8 percent for 2/28s originated in 2006. These rates are going to reset to about 11 percent. But, it is relevant that the initial rate is actually quite high. Now, as Representative Lynch has already said, the options for dealing with the foreclosure problem in the here and now, as opposed to looking forward, are frustratingly limited, and we hope that one message gets out, that borrowers have to be very active in seeking help. They have to go to their servicers if they expect any difficulty with their mortgage payments. They need to shop around. And, I acknowledge that they have to be very persistent, because most servicers are not staffed to cope with the volume of problems that they are currently handling. We think it is possible that some subprime borrowers might have the opportunity to transition from a subprime loan into a better product, either a prime product or, perhaps, a subprime fixed product, before their interest rates reset. Although subprime loans are VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 35 generally regarded as loans to individuals with weak credit histories, Boston Fed researchers again, just looking at Middlesex County data, have found that a significant fraction of the Middlesex County borrowers with subprime loans have pretty decent FICO scores. Now, why they are in the subprime mortgage, I don’t know, in some cases maybe a high loan to value, in some cases they may have been misplaced, in some cases it was just easy to go to that lender. But, it’s conceivable that those borrowers, by shopping around, might be able to refinance. Additionally, as I pointed out, the actual teaser rates for some of these subprime loans aren’t all that low. In fact, if you made your mortgage payments on a regular basis for the past year or so, you might be a promising candidate for a better mortgage product. And finally, some subprime borrowers have been in their house long enough that they have accumulated equity, so that they, again, might be able to refinance into a better product, because of their large equity. The whole subprime market is predicated on borrowers being able to refinance. It is quite important that responsible subprime lending continue, because otherwise people are going to be stuck with these quite sharp increases in rates. But, it is also possible that there may be an opportunity for banks and thrift institutions to play a larger role than they have done. We’ve already heard that they have lost market share to mortgage banks. Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, has been trying to reach out to bankers in New England to explore the possibility for commercial banks to play a more active role in providing liquidity to this market. Most commercial banks and savings banks at the local level are not in the subprime market, many of them don’t want to be, but there are, potentially, customers there who might be eligible for prime products. We are trying to get out the word, both to bankers, but also to the consumer. We are developing a Web site, and developing some brochures, to try and spread the word that borrowers need to shop around. They need to act now before they are in trouble. And we, at the Boston Fed, hope to work with financial institutions, community groups, government officials, and other regulators to address what really is a very, very difficult and unfortunate situation. [The prepared statement of Ms. Browne can be found on page 48 of the appendix.] The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Ms. Browne. Let me say, and you have been very responsive, but, frankly, one of your comments sort of underlined the problem when you said, well, there were people who have good credit and they are in subprime, and you listed possible reasons why they were there. You didn’t mention racial discrimination, and I think it’s clear that discrimination is one of the reasons, and we just have to get our minds around that. I mean, you said maybe they had too high a debt to loan value, and maybe this, and maybe this, and undeniably discrimination, and that’s—and I have to ask you, and Mr. Kennedy, you say in your testimony that the denial rate disparity we are talking about from your testimony was more than double for minorities, 25 per- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 36 cent versus 11 percent for Whites. White originations, 38 percent, minority originations, 55, the denial rate between Whites 14, minorities, 28, and it is not entirely due, as you acknowledge, to creditworthiness. My question is this, and I don’t know if you’ll know this off the top of your head: Has anybody at Sovereign Bank ever been disciplined for not treating people fairly? Has there ever, and I would also ask, look, here’s the problem, we’ve been working on this in our committee, where is the enforcement record? We have this on the books, Ms. Hamilton has talked about this, you have to start taking it seriously, there has to be, and we are going to keep pushing this, and it has to be, here’s the terrible facts, we have an enormous disparity, some of which clearly is racial and ethnic discrimination. That’s the only explanation for it. And, we have, virtually, no record of any discipline, virtually, no record of any enforcement, and that cannot continue, and I say that to the banks, who should be disciplining people, and to the regulators who will be enforcing? Mr. Kennedy, I’d be interested, you know, I don’t expect you know it off the top of your head, but has anybody ever been disciplined by the bank for this? Mr. KENNEDY. Congressman, I do not know that they have. I know that we look at that, all denials that come through we have a Second Look Committee. We examine the terms and conditions of the loan, the background, etc. Sometimes those denials have been overturned by that process. I do not know, and I do not believe that anyone has specifically been disciplined in that regard. The CHAIRMAN. But, with all the effort, you do say the denial disparity rates have increased in recent years. Mr. KENNEDY. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. It has gotten worse rather than better. Mr. KENNEDY. Well, I agree, that is something that has disturbed us as well. One of the reasons, as we have expanded our efforts here in Massachusetts, continued to add staff, reach out further, work more closely with community groups, have expanded the pool of applicants as well, and, you know, that’s one of the conundrums that we’ve looked at. The CHAIRMAN. Well, I can see that would account for everything else being equal for an increase in the absolute number of denials. Mr. KENNEDY. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. But not for an increase in the disparity rate. The only other thing I would ask is, Ms. Browne, I was struck, and I appreciate it, because the quality of the research has been very helpful, as has Mr. Campen’s, you said that the servicers are not well staffed to be able to redo this. Now, we are going to be dealing with legislation, and one of the things that we have in mind is to put some restrictions on the servicers and some liability, and they are telling us that this would be a bad thing. I want to serve notice now, if the servicers can’t do a much better job than they are doing, of trying to provide some relief, then their argument against restrictions on them is going to be weakened. There’s some relationship here. And, people are telling us, leave us alone, who aren’t able to deliver, let me just say this, it’s a very important part of legislation. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 37 I know we have Representative Fox, Representation Malia, we’ve been joined by Councilor Yancey, my colleague, every legislator knows, we can’t compel people to be flexible, but they can’t compel us to write the bill they want us to. And, I think everybody ought to remember a very important piece of legislation is that the ankle bone is connected to the shoulder bone, and we intend to look at this as we make our judgments. Mr. Capuano. Mr. CAPUANO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I just want to, first of all, thank our panelists. I mean, I’ve dealt with pretty much all of you at one level or another, and, you know, you have been doing this a long time, and you are doing a great job with it. So, I really appreciate you being here today. But, I also—I need to ask for help as we go forward. Most of you know how legislation is made, and again, as I’ve said earlier, you know, the fact that we have Barney Frank as our chairman and overseeing the staff is very, very helpful and very beneficial. At the same time, you are the people on the front lines, and sometimes we do have difficulty in Washington connecting the rubber and the road, and it’s not because of lack of trying or lack of desire, it’s just sometimes we don’t always see some of the things that happen. So, I’m encouraging you, and asking you, and begging you, as we go forward with this legislation, please let us know if we are missing something, if there are some holes in it that we can fill in, also understanding, you know, limitations that we have, which you’ll be told if we think that, well, it’s a good idea but we can’t get it done. But, that’s of great interest to me, because that’s usually where the holes are. I’m never concerned with Barney as the chairman and with the staff that he has, I’m never concerned that the big picture issue is going to be missed or the intent is going to be missed, but sometimes there are holes here and there that you will see, because you are living it, more than we will see it. I encourage you to let us know that. I guess I’ll stop there. That’s the most important thing. You guys are doing a great job. I appreciate you letting us know numbers. Numbers are important, but what’s more important is individuals. I also want to be clear that, you know, on the legislation that we draft, we will not be able to help everyone. We’d like to. I think that would be a wonderful goal and a wonderful desire, but it’s just not going to be possible. There are going to be people, some people, who got loans who can’t carry those loans, that we just can’t help. But, we can, hopefully, do the best we can to prevent it from happening again, and that’s where I encourage you to help us look. That’s the thing that I think we are the best at, and, you know, I just want to make sure that whatever we do do fills all the holes that are possible. So, thank you. The CHAIRMAN. I thank the Representative for saying that, because that is a very important point, not to raise false hopes for a lot of people. Mr. ALKINS. Mr. Chairman, could I just interject, the important thing here is that people who are arrested for shoplifting have VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 38 more chance of going to jail than somebody who is found guilty of predatory lending. And, if we don’t put some teeth into the legislation to hold people accountable, we have to recognize that lives are being destroyed. Some will rebound, but many more will not. So, I ask you to work with us as the community, we will work with you and fight for you to get the network out there to get whatever you put, as long as it is a strong and meaningful piece of legislation, we will work with you and fight with the other Members of Congress to put it forward. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Lynch. Mr. LYNCH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. One of the most troubling aspects of Ms. Hamilton’s report was that even in some of the instances where she found discrimination occurring, that data would not be picked up under current disclosure, under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, a lot of that criteria is missed. If you go back to 1977 when the Community and Reinvestment Act was passed, it was passed in response to urban decay in a lot of the minority neighborhoods that are served by the CRA today. The problem is that when it was passed the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of mortgages originated with either banks or thrift institutions. Today, you know, you fast forward and today it looks like almost 70 percent of mortgages are written by private mortgage companies that are not subject to coverage of the CRA. So, we are losing the focus of the CRA by attrition. Now, Mr. Kennedy, you testified today, and I read your rating, I went on line and checked out Sovereign’s CRA, you got an outstanding rating, so I’ll put that out there, but what can we do, what can we do to bring back all those people who are right now writing mortgages, underwriting mortgages, the brokers, the mortgage companies, who aren’t subject to CRA, how can we make them more accountable? I know that they don’t have some of the advantages that were sort of the quid pro quo for the original CRA application, but what can we do to make them live up to what I think is a responsibility that they have to the communities that they serve, to make sure that credit is democratic throughout the communities that they do serve? Mr. KENNEDY. I guess, Congressman, I would respond to your question by saying that when CRA was passed in 1997, indeed, you are correct, it was trying to address the issues of disinvestment in our urban areas. We had the Great Society Program, and billions of dollars poured in, and things seemed to be getting worse, and this was an attempt to bring focus to those assessment areas where financial institutions had their principal banking presence. It took, as we know, a while for banks to fully understand what that meant. I guess I would address that question by saying, banks, I think, on the whole, have stepped up to the plate and have come to a very mature understanding as to what that is, and to realize there is an affirmative responsibility when one is dealing with capital and putting it back into the community, and being able to do business there. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 39 We are a chartered financial institution, and so we are obligated, as a result of that. I think the proof is in the pudding, as to what has happened there for the financial institutions. We’ve seen, just what I’ve seen in the 18 years that I’ve been directly involved with this here in New England, and, specifically, Massachusetts and Boston, it is a significant transformation. There is a tremendous amount of work that still needs to be done, and yet as other financial institutions have come in we have had to, you know, obviously, meet that competition. Regulation, I think that’s something that has to be seriously explored. The CHAIRMAN. Let me just, a closing note here on this, yes, one of the several sets that was here, but that intelligent, and thoughtful, and flexible regulation is essential, not because we are antimarket, but because we understand the market works better in that situation. The problem with subprime loans was much worse in the totally unregulated sector than in the regulated sector. CRA is a very important and thoughtful regulation, and there’s a great deal to be said here for that, as is, of course, fair lending. We’ve come to a time, let me say, I know we’ve been joined by Representative Fox, City Councilor Yancey, and Representative Malia, we do not have time for further testimony, we will be glad to acknowledge that all of them are people who have a great deal of concern about this. We’ve discussed it, I’ve talked with all three of them about it. I know that they share these concerns. We will leave the record open and written statements will be accepted up until the end of the week. So, I apologize, but we did run out of time. I do know that Representative Fox, City Councilor Yancey, and Representative Malia have all been in the forefront of this; they have been collaborators with us, and will continue to be. The hearing is now adjourned. [Whereupon, at 1:12 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.] VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE APPENDIX October 15, 2007 (41) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 39907.001 42 VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 39907.002 43 VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 39907.003 44 VerDate 0ct 09 2002 16:14 Jan 23, 2008 Jkt 039907 PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\39907.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 39907.004 45 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