Saturday, February 23, 2008

A New Form of "Redlining"?

That's what this article suggests:
In an effort to stem the bleeding, mortgage firms have instituted a bunch of new policies, one of which has drawn pretty heavy criticism from consumer advocacy groups and some in the lending industry itself. They call it new "redlining". It all started when Fannie Mae in December announced that from mid-January on it would require an extra 5% down payment from loans originated in declining areas. A declining, or high-risk, area could be an entire county, a metropolitan area or a zip code. Since last summer Fannie Mae has been labeling certain areas as declining and now it urged banks to use practically any available statistics to do their own risk assessments. Several national lenders have followed that advice and promptly stirred up the controversy.